ripleys aquarium

Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto changes policy after complaints about reopening plans

Just days into reopening in Toronto, Ripley's Aquarium is already facing complaints about their COVID-19 safety measures.

The aquarium reopened on June 26 as part of the Phase 2 reopening in Toronto. While they articulated a number of safety precautions they would be implementing to keep staff and visitors safe, that hasn't stopped some from suggesting the aquarium could be doing better.

Among the voices is a petition that claims Ripley's isn't enforcing safety protocols such as wearing masks, that the aquarium doesn't have sufficient staff to clean the facility, and that staff were forced to take pay cuts.

Ripley’s was one of the last attractions in Toronto to shut down back when the pandemic started. A petition asking Ripley’s to close at that time garnered more than 500 signatures.

General Manager of Ripley's Peter Doyle disputes the claims in the petition and just yesterday after blogTO spoke with him, the aquarium issued a statement saying masks will now be required as of July 3, consistent with Toronto's new policy that mandates face masks be worn indoors.

“We have always required staff to wear masks when operating,” Doyle told blogTO. “Today we are implementing a new policy mandating masks for all guests ahead of the City of Toronto requirement.”

Staffing levels have been reduced because the aquarium is operating at 30 per cent capacity, Doyle said.

“We are not calling everyone back yet because we are not even close to the numbers that we did last year,” he said.

It is true that some staff members have taken a 20 per cent pay cut but “it is a temporary measure,” Doyle said.

When they closed in March, the retained staff received a pay reduction.

“This was very common practice across our industry both in Canada and globally,” Doyle said, adding he is not forcing people to come back to work.

Other measures the aquarium is taking for safety include closing high-touch exhibitions; self-scanning of tickets for a contact-less entry; additional hand sanitizer stations; and floor graphics to indicate appropriate social distancing and one-way flow.

Lead photo by

Andrew Williamson. With files from Lisa Power.


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