SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Zoo officials are gearing up to reopen on Wednesday with new safety precautions in place after three and one-half months of closure due to COVID-19.
Under updated rules, all guests must make an online reservation before visiting and must purchase admission tickets and parking in advance.
Face coverings are required at all times, both for staff and for all guests over two years old. News signage will remind guests to practice social distancing, and hand sanitizer will available throughout the zoo.
Visitors will now follow a one-way path in popular areas like the Children’s Zoo and Youth Exploration Zone, and restrooms will be cleaned hourly while high-touch areas and exhibits will be cleaned every one to two hours.
Group talks and demonstrations are not being held. The zoo has also added new Safety Ambassadors, who will navigate
the zoo on bicycles to enforce COVID-19 precautions.
Other changes at the zoo include the birth in April of a female mandrill, new meerkat pups are getting ready to emerge from their enclosure, and six successfully hatched Magellanic penguin chicks will soon graduate from fish school.
“We are grateful that we can now reopen to the public and once again serve as a family destination and educational resource,” said the zoo’s executive director, Tanya Peterson. “Unlike some institutions that experienced full closures, our responsibility to care for our animals has been ongoing…. Our animal care and veterinary staff and nutritionists havebeen working nonstop during this period to ensure the health and wellness ofour 2,000-plus animals.”
The zoo gets nearly 70 percent of its revenue from admissions and memberships, so its revenue has fallen significantly since it closed on March 17.
“It’s an understatement to say the three-month closure has been challenging, but we were fortunate that our community of donors, Board of Directors, and city partners were supportive in various ways during the closure,” said Peterson.
The Leaping Lemur Cafe also will reopen on Wednesday but just for takeout and mobile ordering.