Advance booking and plans for a mobile app – how Colchester Zoo will reopen after lockdown
PUBLISHED: 19:00 22 May 2020
Colchester Zoo is preparing a number of new restrictions for when it is given the green light to reopen, after more than eight weeks of closure and a devastating loss of income.
The zoo has revealed that it is preparing to reopen in July, but wants to be prepared to open earlier if the government eases lockdown restrictions.
But bosses are warning customers that trips to the animal care centre in Maldon Road will be rather different to how they used to be.
Bosses of the zoo, said: “After more than two long months of being closed to the public and with no regular income it is vitally important that we open again soon for the zoo to survive.”
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With the majority of the zoo – totalling more than 60 acres – being open-air and offering wide pathways and open areas, bosses hope it will be an “ideal location” for those looking to venture outside once lockdown is lifted.
Among the zoo’s plans is an app for visitors – which bosses hope will “help you identify where you are on the route, where hand sanitising stations are and will send you reminders to wash your hands and keep your distance”.
The app is one of a number of different restrictions and services being tested before the zoo is given the green light to reopen to visitors.
Bosses added: “We appreciate that a visit to Colchester Zoo under these circumstances is far from the first-class experience which we have previously strived to offer and unfortunately, we have had to come to terms with the fact it will not return to ‘normal’ for a long while yet. We need to adapt together to the ‘new normal’ and make the most out of the beautiful parkland that we can with these measures in place.”
Currently, these are the measures which the zoo have outline for the reopening:
• Visitor numbers will be restricted on a daily basis to ensure they can comply with social distancing.
• All visitors, including passholders, must buy/reserve tickets in advance online, with time slots introduced so arrival times can be spaced out.
• All visitors will be asked to bring their own PPE and follow personal hygiene regimes during their visit, including washing hands regularly. The zoo does plan to have PPE available for visitors to purchase, however this will be limited.
• Hand sanitising stations will be introduced around the zoo.
• A one-way route has been designed that reinforces social distancing at all locations where it is possible, with demarcations on the floor wherever possible to assist.
• Some indoor areas will remain closed until further notice along with the zoo’s indoor and outdoor children’s play areas. Face painting, Lemur Walkthrough, Discovery Centre and Sensation Station will also remain closed for the time being.
• The zoo’s daily public keeper talks and feeds will not take place until further notice in order to prevent crowding.
• All visitors will be encouraged to use contactless payment whenever possible and cash will only be accepted as a last resort. The contactless limit will be increased to £45.
• Thorough and regular deep cleaning will be carried out across the zoo throughout the day.
• Dining tables will be moved outside where possible and placed apart to enable social distancing.
• All of the zoo’s staff will have relevant PPE and will have daily health checks.
Bosses have also urged anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 to not visit Colchester Zoo.
At this time, the zoo is unsure whether the shop will be open and this will depend on the government guidelines issued in the coming weeks.
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