New Orleans: Audubon Zoo to reopen June 3
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Audubon Zoo plans to reopen on Wednesday with special guidelines in place designed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the guidelines announced by the zoo Friday, it will open at 25% capacity and reservations will be required in order to keep numbers low and assist in keeping visitors spread out.
“We look forward to reconnecting the community with the animals in our care,” Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman said in a statement. “While our doors were closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Audubon’s dedicated staff continued to provide outstanding care for our animals and parks.”
The zoo said in a news release that it had consulted with other zoo and aquarium officials around the country and with experts at other museums and attractions in Louisiana to come up with its reopening plan.
Reservations will be available online starting on Monday. The zoo will also mandate masks for staff in public spaces, will have signs reminding people of the need for physical distancing and will have stringent cleaning standards in place.
The zoo has been hit hard by the coronavirus-related shutdowns. The zoo is estimating a nearly 80% decrease from the typical 750,000 visitors it receives in the summer, according to the news release.
The zoo said it has lost about $21 million in revenue usually generated by visitors from March to June, when it has been closed.
While the zoo will be open to visitors, zoo officials said they will not be holding its annual Zoo-To-Do for Kids fundraiser which had been scheduled for August 28. The Zoo-to-Do benefit for adults will go forward on Sept. 11. The zoo is also not allowing private event rentals at its facilities through August and will not be hosting fee-based summer camps.
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