Zoos and outdoor attractions where people stay in their cars, such as safari parks and drive-in cinemas, will be able to reopen from June 15 in the UK.
The Prime Minister will announce their reopening as lockdown restrictions in the UK continue to ease, as long as they follow certain safety precautions.
A Downing Street official said that “we hope the reopening of safari parks and zoos will help provide families with more options to spend time outdoors while supporting the industry caring for these incredible animals”.
Zoos in the UK had been campaigning for the Government to reconsider their initial decision and allow them to reopen sooner. Many issued a stark warnings that they were struggling with the loss of revenue after they were told they may have to remain closed “indefinitely”.
The BBC reports that the PM’s father, Stanley Johnson, along with many MPs have been lobbying for zoos to be allowed to reopen.
Chester Zoo launched a particularly effective campaign to save the zoo and started a fundraiser as they revealed it costs them nearly half a million pounds each month just to look after its animals and plants. Their donations page has currently raised nearly £2.5 million..
In a statement, Chester Zoo thanked everyone who has donated, saying that “we have suffered severe financial damage” since they have been closed. But the donations “have given us a vital lifeline” during such an uncertain time.
The zoo is now working to set up a booking system so that it can open as quickly and safely as possible. It has previously announced safety measures it plans to take when it reopens, including limiting visitor numbers, social distancing floor markers and hand sanitiser points.
🙌 YOU DID IT! 🙌
A week ago we were in despair, not knowing when we would reopen, or if we could even survive much longer…
BUT YOUR VOICES HAVE BEEN HEARD! 📣
We have JUST received the news that we’ll be able to open safely from 15 June. pic.twitter.com/R0Nar3Z8Z3
— Chester Zoo (@chesterzoo) June 9, 2020
Iceland adopts ALL the penguins
In an effort to help Chester Zoo, the supermarket chain Iceland adopted all of its Humboldt penguins. The Manc reports that Iceland wanted to support the zoo and some of its endangered species.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland, said the company was “proud” to support the zoo because of their “vital” conservation work.
We’ve joined the fight to save @chesterzoo and have adopted the penguins 🐧
The zoo has over 35,000 threatened and critically endangered animals but may have to close its doors for good due to COVID-19 law.
— Iceland Foods ❄️ (@IcelandFoods) June 5, 2020
Safety precautions will be in place
Zoos will have to implement safety measures before they are able to reopen. Indoor attractions at the zoos will stay closed, such as reptile houses.
Restaurants and cafes will also only be open for takeaway food and drink, although gift shops may be able to reopen along with all non-essential shops in the UK.