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Government gives green light for Banham Zoo reopening

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Banham Zoo is preparing for the return of visitors after it was announced on Wednesday that zoos can reopen.

Boris Johnson said at the government’s daily briefing that zoos could open again from June 15, joining non-essential shops and drive-in cinemas.

He said: “I am very grateful to the zoo industry for their co-operation and forbearance and am happy to confirm that they too can reopen from Monday, provided visitor numbers are managed and safeguards put in place.”

Claudia Roberts, commercial managing director of the ZSEA. (36604782)
Claudia Roberts, commercial managing director of the ZSEA. (36604782)

The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), which runs both Banham Zoo and Suffolk’s Africa Alive, said it has lost around £1.5 million in visitor revenue since it temporarily closed at the end of March.

Claudia Roberts, commercial managing director for the ZSEA, said: “We are delighted to finally have clarity on when we can reopen.

“It does not however mean that we can reopen on June 15, because we need to do this safely and do a deep clean. We will plan to open on or around July 1.”

The director did also say that the proposed restructuring and cost cutting plan the charity announced two weeks ago, which involved consultations with 201 employees, would still go ahead due to the loss of so much income during the period of its closure.

Measures the zoo will be taking will include advanced booking only online and using timed entrance slots to reduce crowds, hand washing and hand sanitiser points throughout the site, one-way systems at pinch points through the zoos, different entrances and exits in the shops as well as safety screens and face shields for staff at entrance gates, shops and restaurants.

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