The Texas State Aquarium has announced significant operating losses attributable to the devastating economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Since closing on March 18, at the very beginning of our busy season, we have lost nearly $3 million in operating revenue," TSA president and CEO Tom Schmid said in a prepared statement.
Scmid said the aquarium faced operating revenue losses of approximately $1 million immediately after Hurricane Harvey.
"I expect our losses through year end could exceed $8 million," Schmid said.
The effects of the pandemic could be long-lasting for the aquarium.
"Over 90% of our operating revenue is earned through our guest programming, and when guests are prevented from visiting the aquarium, that revenue is eliminated." he said. "And while we continue to prepare for opening later this month with significantly reduced capacity, I suspect impacts will be felt for the next 12 to 24 months."
The TSA does have an Endowment and cash reserves, both intended to be used during an emergency. Those funds have helped the aquarium manage through this crisis so far.
However, with continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic, aquarium officials have taken more actions to reduce expenses.
Shortly after closing, aquarium management implemented a number of cost saving measures, beginning with 50% reduction in the CEO's salary, a 20-30% cut to senior staff salaries, and a reduction in part time and seasonal staffing levels,
"These cuts were necessary at the time, however, as we enter week eight of our closure, more is needed," Schmid said.
Effective May 5, the Texas State Aquarium has reduced full time staff by 17%, and has reduced salaries and hours for most of the remaining team members.
"In my 20 years as CEO of this institution, this is, by far, the most difficult decision I have ever made," Schmid said. "These team members, through no fault of their own, are being greatly impacted. We are committed to thoughtfully and compassionately supporting these team members. We will be providing a number of resources, including cash payments and extended health insurance coverage, to help them get through this extraordinary difficult period."
When the TSA does re-open guests will notice a number of changes. There will be one-way touring through all the exhibits, and no presentations or 4-D Theatre experience.
"The very difficult decisions we made this week will allow us to remain financially stable and allow us to continue on our mission of enriching family entertainment, STEM education, wildlife rescue and conservation."