LEON VALLEY, Texas – The San Antonio Aquarium was shut down Saturday by the Leon Valley Police Department for violating an emergency declaration due to the coronavirus pandemic, Police Chief Joe Salvaggio said.
The aquarium allowed patrons inside the building, which is a violation of the ordinance, Salvaggio said. The aquarium is allowed to have employees to care for the fish and other animals, but not patrons, Salvaggio said.
After aquarium officials were warned several times, they were issued a citation Saturday, Salvaggio said.
A few hours later, a second citation was issued and about 15 people had to be removed from the building, Salvaggio said.
“(The) next time (we’re) pulling certificate of occupancy and chaining the main doors,” he said.
The doors for employees to enter will not be closed so that they can feed the animals.
The aquarium’s website on Saturday indicated it was open for business and reassured customers that the building was clean and that they had plenty of soap and hand sanitizer.
Punishment for violating the declaration include a fine between $250 and $400 for the first violation, $500-$1000 for a second violation, and the third violation results in the loss of certificate of occupancy and the business shut down until the emergency declaration ends.
This is not the first time the aquarium has been shut down.
In December 2018, the aquarium was closed for six days after multiple safety hazards were found following a routine fire inspection. The violations ranged from unsecured propane tanks to hazardous electrical wiring.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
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