COLCHESTER Zoo has announced it is hopeful of reopening within a 'matter of weeks'.

The world famous attraction has been closed for 8 weeks due to Government lockdown measures, but has still faced bills of £25,000 a day to maintain animals care.

Concerned zoo bosses had expressed serious worries over whether the facility would be able to sustain the closure for a prolonged period of time.

However bosses now say changes in restrictions mean they could open in July, or even before.

So a plan has been put together in preparation for reopening, which will mean new rules for visitors.

These are the measures the zoo is set to bring in:

  • There will be a restriction on the number of visitors per day to ensure the attraction can comply with social distancing measures
  • All visitors, including passholders, must buy/reserve tickets in advance online to help with managing the capacity
  • Tickets will be available online in times slots so arrival times are spaced out. This will be based on 30-minute slots throughout the day.
  • Zoo Passholders will not need to buy a ticket but reserve their free ticket online and follow the same process by bringing along this ticket, as well as their valid membership card, with them to enter the zoo
  • Additional hand sanitising stations will be introduced along the route.
  • Some indoor areas where social distancing is not possible will remain closed until further notice along with our indoor and outdoor children’s play areas. Face painting, Lemur Walkthrough, Discovery Centre and Sensation Station also remain closed until further notice.
  • Dining tables will be situated outside where possible and placed apart to enable social distancing. Visitors are asked not to move tables for the health and safety of them and others.
  • All staff will have relevant PPE and will have daily health checks.
  • The zoo also asks visitors to bring their own PPE and follow personal hygiene regimes during their visit including washing hands regularly. Additional hand sanitising stations are also going to be in place throughout the park. A limited amount of PPE will be available to purchase.

A spokesman for the zoo said: "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.

"We hope to introduce an app to help you during your visit 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.

"We will do all that we can to help keep you safe and kindly ask that you do all you can to help keep yourself and others safe too.

Please be kind and thoughtful of others. If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 please do not visit Colchester Zoo.

"Help us keep the zoo a virus free destination for all to enjoy."

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