A family poses with Mote's mascot, Gilly, atĀ its City Island aquarium.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium announced today that the aquarium is temporarily closed to the public until further notice. The closure comes as national, state and local governments attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. In light of the closure, all Mote education programs will be adjusted; the annual Party on the Pass event on March 20 has been postponed; and the 34th annual Run for the Turtles will become an online event.

In a release, Mote emphasized that its staff and volunteers will continue round-the-clock animal care and will also continue to respond 24/7 to sea turtle and marine mammal strandings. The public can check in on Mote animals virtually via the aquarium's otter and manatee webcams.

"Just as we are committed to addressing the vulnerability of our coastal and marine life and resources, the well-being and safety of our guests, members, volunteers, trustees and staff is of greatest importance to us," Mote president and CEO Dr. Michael Crosby said in a release.

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