MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif (KION) The Monterey Bay Aquarium has kept its doors closed for the past seven months. "It's tough. It's had a huge impact on our staff and, obviously, a huge impact on our operations and finances," said Ken Peterson with the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
36% of aquarium staff have been laid off or furloughed since March.
Peterson said the popular attraction is predicted to suffer a $55 million loss by the end of 2020.
"We have a really great set of protocols we can follow to keep our guests, staff, volunteers and animals safe, but the state has set some tougher hurdles for us to clear," said Peterson.
The state's "hurdles" may not be budging anytime soon. Monterey County remains under the "widespread" category in the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This applies to counties that have especially high adjusted COVID-19 case and positivity rates.
Dr. Edward Moreno with the Monterey County Health Department said the county currently sees 8.5 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people each day.
"We are adjusting our forecast, our projections and seeing if the budget measures that we have taken will require other interactions," said Monterey City Manager, Hans Uslar.
Uslar says revenue from the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is down. Over the past three months, the tax brought in around $2.5 million. During that time last year, the tax brought in around $9 million.
Without attractions like the aquarium to bring tourists in, the state of the city's budget could stay the same.
"We're just hoping that we can get things under control to the point where the state officials will feel it's safe for aquariums like ours, museums and others places like that to open to visitors again," said Peterson.