Marwell Zoo has outlined its plans to welcome visitors back safely as zoos are finally able to reopen.
The decision to relax restrictions on zoos is expected to take effect from Monday 15 June, however Marwell’s Chief Executive James Cretney said the Hampshire zoo’s reopening date is to be confirmed.
He explained: “We’re delighted that zoos will finally be able to reopen!
“We’re looking forward to welcoming guests back very soon, however we’ve always been working towards the government’s original indicated reopening date of early July as part of Stage 3 of the UK’s Covid 19 recovery strategy.
Our priority continues to be the safety of our guests, staff and animals. We are now busy making the necessary changes including bringing back and safety training our furloughed staff and installing all the physical measures to ensure guests can safely enjoy our 140-acre zoo. As soon as the preparations are complete, we will reopen.”
Measures will include two metre floor markings at enclosures and queues, new one-way routes on narrow paths, multiple hand sanitisation points, stringent cleaning and signage to inform visitors.
The zoo will be strictly limiting numbers each day so all guests including members will need to book online before they arrive while all payments at the zoo will be by card only.
All indoor animal areas will remain closed and there will be no animal talks, touch tables, train services or public animal feeds. The indoor cafes will not be open however there will be catering outlets where takeaway food and drink will be available as well as extra outdoor picnic areas.
Marwell’s summer brick adventure event SUPERSIZED! is fully installed and will now be on display until 1 November 2020.
Guests will be ‘shrunk’ through a ‘minimising machine’ on arrival before meeting toy brick models SUPERSIZED to eye-popping proportions, including a three-metre tarantula, assassin bug, American kestrel and a towering red spitting cobra.
James, added: “The zoo may feel a bit different when we open but it will be the same warm welcome from all of us.
“Unlike many organisations, our costs are incredibly high, around £600,000 a month to ensure our animals receive the same high standards of care they are used to so each day the zoo is closed to guests, our need for the public’s support grows to help us cover basic costs such as animal food and bedding.
“It is great news the government has acknowledged the importance of supporting us to care for our incredible animals while giving families more options to reconnect with the natural world and spend time safely outdoors.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters during these unprecedented times and it will take us a long time to recover. We can’t wait to welcome guests back as soon as possible.”
To find out more about the zoo’s fundraising appeal go to: www.justgiving.com/campaign/supportMarwell
Alternatively if you would like to buy a gift for the animals from the zoo’s Amazon Wish List, visit https://www.marwell.org.uk/zoo/support/amazon-wish-list