Chester Zoo has been told by the Government to prepare for its gates to remain closed ‘indefinitely’, bosses at the attraction have revealed.
Caring for over 35 thousand threatened and critically endangered species, 97% of the attraction’s income usually comes from visitors. After closing on the 21st March, the coronavirus pandemic has already cost it £5M, with a debt in excess of £24M expected by the end of the year, despite exhaustive efforts to reduce costs and its use of the government’s furlough scheme.
In a series of heart-breaking tweets, the UK’s biggest and most visited charity zoo is now appealing to the public to help secure its future and needs to raise a total of £1.6M a month to do so.
Despite being a huge outdoor site and having the necessary safety measures in place to open, the zoo shared that the Government’s order is having a ‘devastating impact’ on both its team and animals.
Its post read: “We wanted to remain a beacon of hope. We really tried. But now, as the government has ordered that we may have to stay closed indefinitely, it hurts us to say that this crisis has left us fighting for our future.
“Meanwhile, we’re having to sit back and watch as people are piling onto beaches and into public parks, where there is no way of controlling numbers, no way of guaranteeing people are socially distanced and no way of ensuring safety. We, can do all of this.”
As reported by ITV News, Jamie Christon, Chief Operating Officer, has shared the measures the zoo has put in place to ensure that its 128 acres of outdoor space is safe: “We plan to heavily limit visitor numbers, we’ve installed self-scanning ticket lanes, floor markings, one-way systems, multiple cleaning and hand sanitisation points, a huge amount of signage and protective screens in all of our key locations and service areas.
“We’ve also trained staff to ensure that social distancing rules are followed at all times.
“People will be safer here than in public spaces, as we know we can manage numbers and social distancing.”
You can make a donation to the zoo here, or visit the attraction’s website to adopt an animal.