The prolonged closure of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in response to efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus has forced it to substantially reduce its workforce through furloughs and layoffs, including at Seafood Watch, its sustainable seafood certification program, the California-based nonprofit said Monday.

While the group will continue to conduct its traffic-light Seafood Watch ratings for fisheries and aquaculture, a "number of Seafood Watch program staff" were let go as part of cost-cutting measures.

Since closing on March 12, the aquarium has been paying employees regardless of their job responsibilities and ability to work remotely, the company said.

The nonprofit said its annual projected revenue shortfall will be at least $40 million (€37 million), a 60 percent.

It did not detail how many employees will be impacted, but the Monterey County Weekly reported the nonprofit is furloughing 38 percent of its 575-person workforce in the coming days.

“These were painful but necessary decisions to maintain the health of the aquarium,” said the nonprofit's Executive Director Julie Packard.

“This action ensures that our resources will cover essential staff who remain in place to maintain the health and welfare of the animals, and that the facilities continue to receive the required level of maintenance.”