Monterey Bay Aquarium pauses reopening as county remains on watch list

Crystal jelly fish are seen at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, September 22, 2018. (Photo by EVA HAMBACH / AFP) (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)

 Monterey Bay Aquarium is delaying its reopening date in compliance with state requirements for counties that remain on California's COVID-19 watch list to cease indoor operations. 

The aquarium had hoped to welcome back guests on Thursday, but since Monterey County was added to the state's watch list on July 2, that won't happen as planned.

"Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Aquarium has prioritized the safety of its staff, volunteers, visitors, community and animals. While this postponement is disappointing, following this guidance from the state and Monterey County Health department is in the best interest of public health and safety," officials said in a statement. 

The aquarium will continue to closely monitor the situation and announce its reopening date when the county’s status improves.

Those who bought tickets can get an exchange for a later date.