Yorkshire Wildlife Park releases statement on reopening with zoos allowed to open from Monday
Yorkshire Wildlife Park bosses hope to welcome back visitors as soon as ‘safe and practical’ with the Government expected to confirm zoos can open from Monday
It was reported today (Wednesday) the Government will announce zoos and safari parks can re-open from Monday, with Boris Johnson expected to outline plans at his daily briefing.
A spokesman for the YWP said today: “We welcome the news and we look forward to the formal announcement later today. We will be re-opening as soon as it is practical and safe, in accordance with Government guidelines to be issued on Saturday.”
The move comes after the attraction, based at Branton, Doncaster, employing nearly 250 staff, reported lockdown had cost it £5 million so far.
Officials at the 150-acre venue say the current crisis has been costing it £300,000 a month in looking after animals and maintaining the park. Earlier this week it urged the Government to review restrictions on opening, amid concerns from Andrew Rosindell MP, chairman of the parliamentary group for Zoos and Aquariums, that if zoos could not open soon, many would not survive.
John Minion, YWP chief executive, said this week: “The safety and health of our animals, our staff team and our visitors is paramount. We have carried out detailed planning to look at how we can control numbers through advance ticket sales and time slots and how we needed to adapt the site and our protocols for visitor management and cleaning in line with Government guidance.
“The park is home to more than 450 animals, including many endangered species, and we are a centre for educational and conservation work, which has had to be put on hold.
The BBC reported a Downing Street official as saying: "People are continuing to make huge sacrifices to reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid a second spike, but we know it is tough and where we can safely open up more attractions, and it is supported by the science, we will do so.
"This is by necessity a careful process, but we hope the reopening of safari parks and zoos will help provide families with more options to spend time outdoors while supporting the industry caring for these incredible animals."