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San Antonio Aquarium cited for remaining open in defiance of Bexar County emergency declaration

Leon Valley Police say the aquarium owner is now subject to a $1,000 fine and even arrest if the violations of the declaration barring gatherings of 10+ continue.

LEON VALLEY, Texas — The Leon Valley Police have issued multiple citations after the San Antonio Aquarium ignored Bexar County's order to close and the emergency order banning gatherings of 10 or more people.

Leon Valley Police Chief and interim City Manager Joe Salvaggio said that they shut the aquarium down on Thursday, asking them to only have employees in to care for the animals.

"We gave him a citation earlier and ordered them to close again," Salvaggio said. "We went back an hour later and they had a party with 15 or more inside, on top of the 10+ employees."

Police issued the manager another citation and escorted the public out of the building. If they are found violating the county order again, severe punishments may result.

Salvaggio says they're subject to a $1,000 fine and even arrest for a Class B misdemeanor. They could even chain public access points and pull their certificate of occupancy in the building. They would, of course, not interrupt the care of the animals.

"This is very unfortunate and the last thing we want to do," he said. "We were hoping for voluntary compliance, which we have received from everyone in Leon Valley, except this one establishment."

San Antonio was the last major Texas city to do so, but on Wednesday Mayor Ron Nirenberg ordered non-essential businesses to close to combat the spread of coronavirus.

As of 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the aquarium's website said it was temporarily closed. 

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