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Zoos: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 49669, tabled on 20 May 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to include zoos in the early reopening of leisure facilities in the post-covid-19 lockdown recovery plan.

Answered on

8 June 2020

We understand the challenges faced by zoos and aquariums during these unprecedented times. We also appreciate the significant opportunities zoos can provide for the public to access well managed and controlled outdoor spaces, and the potential to improve general wellbeing.

However, the Government has taken the decision that zoos and aquariums should not yet reopen, and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, which came into force on 1 June, provide greater clarity and certainty on this. While each individual attraction can be made safer, it’s vital that we do not move too quickly in reopening to ensure public health is protected.

We are continuing to work with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) to understand how we can reopen zoos in a safe way as soon as possible with social distancing measures in place.