Colchester Zoo to reopen next week
PUBLISHED: 15:05 10 June 2020 | UPDATED: 18:44 10 June 2020
Picture: COLCHESTER ZOO
Colchester Zoo is hoping to reopen next week as Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks to further ease lockdown measures.
The announcement comes after zoos across the country warned further prolonged closures could see them collapse unless immediate action was taken.
Colchester Zoo, Linton Zoo, Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! all say they are looking to reopen as soon as safely possible.
Colchester Zoo hopes to reopen next week while The Zoological Society of East Anglia, which runs Banham Zoo and Africa Alive!, say they will reopen in July.
A spokesman for Colchester Zoo said it was “pleased” by the announcement and will reveal further plans in the coming days.
A statement issued online read: “We are very happy to re-open – both the staff and animals have missed the visitors.
“However, it is important too that our visitors follow the conditions we put in place to help us remain open and keep our staff, animals and other visitors safe and healthy.
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“Working together, Colchester Zoo will be able to remain open albeit not in the usual way we know and have enjoyed the park in the past.”
Zoo officials are stressing visits to the zoo will be different to those in previous years as they adjust to the so-called “new normal” – while all zoos will enforce measures such as one-way signage, multiple handwashing stations and only taking advanced bookings.
The statement continued: “We appreciate that a visit to Colchester Zoo under these circumstances is far from the first-class experience which we have previously strived to offer and unfortunately, we have had to come to terms with the fact it will not return to ‘normal’ for a long while yet.
“We need to adapt together to the ‘new normal’ and make the most out of the beautiful parkland that we can with these measures in place.”
The Zoological Society of East Anglia, which runs Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! however will not be reopening until July, and said it is looking at reducing the number of its 201 staff by up to a third to help ensure financial security.
A society spokesman said: “The charity has already experienced a loss of income of £1.5 million since being shut due to Covid-19.
“With the government making this decision now and allowing us to open when we’re ready means that we have a fighting chance of survival. “We still have a very tough future ahead of us, with reduced visitor numbers at the zoos due to social distancing.”
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