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At Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Sea Animals are Doing Great, but Business is Tanking



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A solitary African penguin waddled through an empty foyer at the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium, peeking curiously under an unoccupied bench.

As a glittery school of silver sardines glided through the 1-million-gallon Open Sea exhibit, soft atmospheric music played to an empty viewing room. No families were there to watch the sharks get fed. The jellyfish shimmered alone in the dark.

Crowds would normally be filling the aquarium corridors in these waning days of summer. But the aquarium on Cannery Row has been closed to the public for five months now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Inside, it is quiet.

The aquarium shut down March 13. A grand reopening was planned for July 9, but it was scrapped a few days before because Monterey County had just been placed on the state’s coronavirus watchlist. No opening date is currently planned.

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