'Frustration' for Aquariums in Bristol and Plymouth as they are left behind zoos, safari parks and non-essential shops

Aquariums in Bristol and Plymouth have spoken to ITV News about the 'frustration' of seeing zoos, safari parks and some non-essential shops reopen when they are to remain closed.

It comes as an announcement this week brought good news for zoos and safari parks who can open their doors as of Monday 15 June, whilst indoor attractions like Aquariums must remain closed, something which they say could have serious financial implications.

Staff have been working in the Bristol Aquarium during lockdown to care for the animals. Credit: ITV West Country

The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth costs ten thousand pounds each day to feed and care for its five thousand animals.

Without being able to welcome visitors, the aquarium has lost more than one million pounds since closing on the Monday 20 March.

It's now urging the Government to allow it to open on or before Friday 4 July.

Nicola Bridge, Head of Conservation at Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium, told ITV News: "It is still difficult when we know non-essential indoor things like Ikea and Primark are able to open from Monday and we're not, even though we have a lot of space."

She said what the aquarium needs from the Government is a 'firm opening date'.

Both aquariums have installed new systems to comply with government social distancing and safety guidelines. Credit: ITV West Country

The Bristol Aquarium shares the same struggles saying it's 'daunting' having to run costs with no income coming in. But they don't want to ask for handouts.

General Manager Fenia Vitali said: "We don't believe it's right in going to the general public, morally, and asking them for financial donations because we're not a charity.

We don't want to drain government funding. We want to fight for our survival and we want to do that by opening the doors."

Inside Bristol Aquarium. Credit: ITV West Country

Both aquariums say they're ready to reopen, with a one-way system in place and other measures including extra signage, hand sanitising, customer charters and timed entrance slots.

Roger Maslin, CEO of Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium, told ITV News: "We're planning for July 4th, then we think we can get through this. But if there is further delay that becomes critical for us, our plea is please come and see us."

  • Grace Pascoe reports from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth: