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Audubon receives approval for phased reopening in New Orleans

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Audubon Nature Institute has received approval for a phased reopening of its family of parks, museums, and zoos in New Orleans, Louisiana but with limited attendance and programming amid COVID-19.

Audubon Riverview Park is set to reopen on May 16 to pedestrian and bicycle traffic only, while Audubon Tennis will reopen on May 20. Audubon Golf Course will remain closed.

However, planning is underway to reopen Audubon Zoo in early June, with Audubon ensuring the health and safety of visitors, staff, volunteers and animals.

Audubon has consulted with experts at zoos, aquariums, museums, attractions and health officials to develop a comprehensive reopening plan.

“We have been preparing to reopen for several weeks,” said Audubon chief operating officer Kyle Burks.

“From stringent cleaning protocols to removing unnecessary touch-points, Audubon is committed to providing a safe experience for visitors.

“We want to take every precaution as we reopen our facilities and appreciate the community’s patience as we carefully begin to open our doors up to the public.”

Burks said that part of the reopening plan – also a requirement of the city – is for Audubon to take online ticket reservations, including Audubon Members.

“Our new timed admission protocol is critical to limiting the number of guests in our facilities at any time and supporting increased physical distancing,” he said.

Audubon will implement attendance limits, stringent cleaning protocols, and social distancing. It will also require staff to wear masks in public spaces.

Audubon’s key reopening protocols

  • Limiting the number of guests to 25 percent of the facility’s capacity
  • Enforcing social distancing of six feet or more
  • Preventing gatherings of groups of more than 10 people
  • Training employees in new safety protocols
  • Providing employees with PPE

“Now, more than ever, the community needs to reconnect,” said Audubon Nature Institute president and CEO Ron Forman.

“As we open our doors to our community, we want the animals and parks in our care to inspire hope and connect our guests to the natural world during a time when we have all experienced uncertainty and grief.

“We look forward to sharing a joyful homecoming that we hope will offer our community some comfort in this difficult time.”

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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