A popular Vancouver tourist attraction says it will be closing next week due to "financially challenging times."
The Vancouver Aquarium, located in the city's Stanley Park, says it will "temporarily pause public programming" as of next week.
The 64-year-old facility says the decision was based on an almost 80 per cent decline in ticket sales.
It describes the choice as proactive, and says it will use the closure to "focus on transforming to a new model that is both financially viable in light of the pandemic and also accelerates Ocean Wise's mission of ocean conservation."
The aquarium will be closed as of Sept. 7 until further notice.
Due to the closure, 209 full-time, part-time and casual staff members will lose their jobs. The aquarium said the majority of those jobs will be in operations.
Ocean Wise's board chair said in a statement Monday it was an "incredibly difficult decision" to cut hundreds of jobs.
Animals will still be cared for by a team of 75 specialized staff, and Ocean Wise's other conservation initiatives will go on.
The aquarium is home to approximately 70,000 creatures.
The attraction initially closed in March, but reopened in June following fundraising campaigns including the sale of aquarium-branded face masks.
It reopened with measures in place to encourage physical distancing, including requiring visitors to purchase tickets for a specific time frame, but staff say the aquarium has not been able to meet its operating costs of more than $1 million a month.
It's unclear what the aquarium's transformation will involve, but Ocean Wise describes the closure as a time to rebuild and "come back even better."