BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Starting Friday, proof of vaccination will no longer be needed to enter the National Aquarium.

In a statement, the downtown attraction cited improving COVID-19 health metrics, including declining hospitalizations in the city.

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“We decided to enact this policy when the Omicron variant was surging and we are now pleased to be able to lift this restriction as of February 25 due to the improving health metrics,” the aquarium said in a statement. “As we’ve done throughout the pandemic, we remain prepared to evolve our policies to best protect our guests, staff, volunteers and animals.”

The policy went into effect on Jan. 25, requiring all guests age 12 and older will be required to provide proof that they’re fully vaccinated.

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Visitors age 18 and older must also bring a copy of their matching photo ID, which could include their driver’s license, government ID, passport or school ID

CEO John Racanelli said at the time the policy was grounded in best practices and science.

“This led us to require our own staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated, and it now compels us to extend that commitment to all who visit. The science is clear: this is singularly the best way to protect public health and reduce transmission of the virus,” he said.

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An indoor mask mandate is still in effect in Baltimore City. The aquarium requires face coverings over the nose and mouth for all visitors age 2 and up. Children between ages 2 to 5 are exempt “where the wearing of a face covering is not feasible.”

CBS Baltimore Staff