A day after announcing a partnership to sell masks to keep the Vancouver Aquarium afloat, the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team says sales have been so brisk that visitor volume briefly crashed the aquarium's website.
The partners have sold more than 25,000 masks since launching Friday morning, or 1,000 masks an hour, said Tom Plasteras, vice-president of communications for the Whitecaps, in an email to CTV News Vancouver.
The cloth masks come in child and adult sizes, and cost around $20 each.
Plasteras said that while the aquarium's website had problems keeping up with the volume of visits Saturday morning, it's now back up and running.
The Vancouver Aquarium had warned it was on the verge of bankruptcy after closing to the public on March 17 because of COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. The popular tourist attraction makes most of its revenue through ticket, concession and gift shop sales.
The aquarium is home to more than 70,000 animals, and even with significant cuts to operation it still costs roughly $1 million a month to run.
The cloth face masks can be purchased online through the Whitecaps or the Vancouver Aquarium websites, although all proceeds are going towards the aquarium.
Plasteras added that he's also heard from the manufacturer of the masks, who "says the demand has allowed him to keep his staff and some of his suppliers are bringing staff back."
Medical-grade masks should be reserved for health care workers during the pandemic, but Canada's public health officer has said wearing a cloth face mask can help keep the wearer's germs from possibly infecting others, as some people who have COVID-19 do not show symptoms.
People who wear masks should keep in mind that wearing one doesn't replace recommendations to stay two metres away from others and practice frequent and thorough hand-washing.