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Banham Zoo and Suffolk's Africa Alive close doors once again amid virus spike

Banham Zoo and Africa Alive have closed their doors to the public for a third time this year amid growing concerns about rising Covid-19 cases in the UK.

The zoos had previously been able to reopen with safety procedures and one way systems in place, but with new cases nationally surpassing 50,000 per day, a decision was taken by the Zoological Society of East Anglia - a charity which runs the zoos, to close the sites.

Both had reopened outdoor areas on December 27 after the Government published an amended ‘SI’ (Statutory Instrument) which permits outdoor attractions, including zoos, to remain open in Tier 4 areas.

Banham Zoo has decided to close once again for Covid safety reasons. (43780355)
Banham Zoo has decided to close once again for Covid safety reasons. (43780355)

However, the sharp rise in cases has resulted in the difficult decision to close once again, just four days later.

Claudia Roberts, Joint Managing Director, Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “It has been a very difficult decision to make. Despite zoos and other outdoor attractions being allowed to remain open, the Government guidelines for Tier 4 state to stay at home and act responsibly to control the virus.

“The numbers of Covid-19 infections have been rising daily and with the concern about the spread of the new variant I believe it is necessary, even though a national lockdown has not been announced, to close both zoos until further notice to help control the pandemic.We will review this over the coming weeks and will update all our supporters as soon as we believe it is safe to reverse our decision.

“We are of course very disappointed to make this decision and will be offering anyone who has pre-booked tickets the opportunity to come at any point once we reopen up until 30 June 2021.”

Anyone who purchased tickets for December 31,is asked to make their own judgement and if they prefer to stay at home, then they are welcome to use their tickets on any day from when the zoos reopen until June 30, 2021. There will be no need to rebook - just quote the original booking number at the kiosk.

The same rules apply to anyone who has a booking for January 1 onwards.

Having already lost millions of pounds in visitor revenue in 2020 and facing bills of £25,000 per week to keep the animals, Africa Alive and Banham Zoo are asking for donations to the #WildAboutSurvival appeal to help the zoos through these uncertain times.

To donate, visit:https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/zsea

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