MONTEREY (CBS SF) – After being closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Monterey Bay Aquarium announced it would reopen in May.

Members would be allowed to visit starting May 1, while the aquarium will open to the general public on May 15.

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“We’ve missed welcoming our visitors to the Aquarium and have been looking forward to this day for too long,” Julie Packard, the aquarium’s executive director, said in a statement.

COVID-19 protocols include online-only ticket sales, timed-entry into the aquarium and the requirement of face coverings.

Reservations through the end of the summer will be released in phases. Members can make reservations for May 1-14 starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time on April 26. General admission and member reservations for May 15 through June 30 will be available starting May 5.

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Admissions through July 15 will be available starting June 1, while admissions through Labor Day (September 6) would come online on July 31.

The aquarium on Cannery Row was last open on March 12, 2020, ahead of the unprecedented shelter-in-place order at the start of the pandemic. A planned reopening last July was halted due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Monterey County over the summer.

“Social media and our online experiences have allowed us to stay connected with people virtually, but we know that people are looking forward to reconnecting with favorite exhibits and animals in person,” Packard said.

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Since being closed to the public, the aquarium has offered live webcams of their animals, including famed jellyfish exhibit, the kelp forest, along with the sharks in the Monterey Bay Habitat. The aquarium has also helped out in the vaccination effort, lending out one of its ultra-cold freezers to a Salinas hospital in the early days of the rollout.