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Chester Zoo Announces Plans To Reopen Next Week

Chester Zoo Announces Plans To Reopen Next Week

Chester Zoo has announced it will be able to safely open its doors to members of the public from Monday 15th June.

The news comes after the zoo appealed to the public last week, even setting up a JustGiving page to raise funds in order to keep the zoo afloat during its closure.

Now, Chester Zoo has taken to Instagram to confirm they will be able to open safely from Monday.

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It's important to note that while the government has not made an official announcement regarding the opening of zoos and other attractions, prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to set this out later today.

Writing on social media, Chester Zoo said: "YOU DID IT! A week ago we were in despair, not knowing when we would reopen, or if we could even survive much longer... BUT YOUR VOICES HAVE BEEN HEARD!

"We have JUST received the news that we'll be able to open safely from 15 June. Your support has been incredible. Every kind donation, every word of support. It really is making a HUGE difference.

The zoo is set to open its doors next week (Credit: PA)
The zoo is set to open its doors next week (Credit: PA)
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"The fight isn't over for us just yet. But, for now, we wanted to celebrate this huge moment of relief with you.

"There's no denying that we have suffered severe financial damage over the past three months and the road to recovery will be long and uncertain. But, your incredibly kind donations, animal adoptions and memberships are giving us a vital lifeline.

"Over the next few days we'll be letting you know when and how you'll be able to book a ticket to visit. Please bear with us while we do this. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. You are SAVING OUR ZOO."

Last week, the zoo revealed it was under threat of permanent closure after the COVID-19 crisis left it floundering in millions of pounds worth of debt.

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The zoo is busy preparing to open its doors again (Credit: PA)
The zoo is busy preparing to open its doors again (Credit: PA)

"Not being able to open, despite being a huge outdoor site with all the necessary safety measures in place, is having a devastating impact on our much-loved zoo. We're heading towards debt in excess of £24m by the end of 2020 - this will financially cripple us. We need to raise £1.6m each month to keep going," they said.

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The zoo explained it's had to "sit back and watch" as people "pile onto beaches and into public parks" with no way of ensuring social distancing.

Meanwhile, their 128 acres of gardens and 16km of pathways (in which they could control numbers and safety measures) were forced to remain closed - the consequence of which has been having a devastating impact on the zoo's financial position.

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So far, an incredible £2.4million has been raised in donations, meanwhile supermarket giant Iceland pledged its support by adopting all of the zoo's Humboldt penguins and in the process, alleviating some of the financial strain.

The zoo will be opening but with smaller numbers (Credit: Caters)
The zoo will be opening but with smaller numbers (Credit: Caters)

Jamie Christon, Chief Operating Officer at Chester Zoo, told Tyla: "A week ago we were in despair, not knowing when we would reopen, or if we could even survive if our gates had to remain closed for much longer.

"But the unwavering support of the public, our members, those MPs who listened to us and backed our corner, and our global community has completely humbled us.

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"It's wonderful that, together, we have been heard. We'll be forever grateful to those who lent us their voice in our moment of need. To them we say thank you, from the very bottom of our hearts.

"We are also incredibly thankful to the Government for taking this step, for us, and for conservation of threatened species.

"This isn't over just yet though. There's no denying that the zoo has suffered severe financial damage over the past three months and the road to recovery will be long and uncertain.

"However, we now start the process of rebuilding this great charity zoo, as we prepare to safely welcome back visitors through our gates - albeit in much, much fewer numbers - from Monday 15 June. We are in no doubt that this is why now, today, on the 89th birthday of Chester Zoo, we have hope that we will survive."

We're so pleased the zoo is opening next week, see you at the giraffe enclosure!

Featured Image Credit: Caters

Topics: Life News, News, Chester Zoo, Coronavirus

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Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at lucy.devine@tyla.com.