In response to the ever-changing COVID-19 situation, San Diego Zoo Global has announced a temporary closure of the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to the public, beginning Monday, March 16. The parks plan to reopen April 1.
“San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park are iconic destinations and we understand we play an important role in inspiring guests about the natural world, while also being a respite and escape for our audiences,” said Paul A. Baribault, president/CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. “However, at this time, it is vital for San Diego Zoo Global to be a leader for the community and for our employees, and ensure we are putting the health and well-being of our greater community first.”
Both the Zoo and Safari Park will remain open Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15, and the latest best practices are in place to provide guests with a safe and healthy visit. The number of handwashing and sanitizing locations has been increased to help guests and staff follow health experts’ recommendations. In keeping with county, state and health department guidelines regarding social distancing, indoor and large capacity shows at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park have been canceled. The number of passengers is being reduced on the Guided Bus Tour at the Zoo and the Africa Tram at the Safari Park to allow increased social distancing between passengers, and both parks have limited their catered events to 250 or fewer attendees.
“We, of course, remain committed to providing premier care for the remarkable wildlife at our parks during this time,” Baribault said. “We have also decided all employees will be paid during this time, regardless of their job responsibilities or ability to work remotely.” Staff taking care of wildlife and maintaining other critical systems will remain active on grounds, however staff who are able to work from home will do so.
“We recognize that visiting the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is much more than an opportunity to experience wildlife up close, but also represents important family time, an escape from our daily lives, an opportunity to enjoy rich educational experiences, a chance to get outdoors and enjoy fresh air and exercise, and an unparalleled opportunity to share the wonder of the natural world with family and friends,” Baribault said.
“San Diego Zoo Global is a family, and the safety of our guests, staff members, volunteers, and wildlife are—and always will be—our highest priority,” Baribault added. “We look forward to reopening, and welcoming visitors back to our parks at the first opportunity we can responsibly do so.”