Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium have confirmed they will join other local tourism venues reopening this Reconciliation Day long weekend.
Following an ACT Government announcement on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions this week, the tourism hotspot confirmed on Wednesday (27 may) it would be open for business in the coming days.
“We can confirm we will be opening this Saturday, but we will be observing strict social distancing measures,” said National Zoo and Aquarium business manager, Russell Jackson.
“Everyone in the venue needs to be adhering to the social distancing of 1.5 metres in all of our outdoor areas and we will be monitoring it very closely.”
The venue will be allowing regular visits for multiple groups of fewer than 20 people in its outside areas but will offer no tours or encounters until further notice.
Unlike other tourism attractions, the zoo will not have allocated time sessions for visitors to book within.
“It would be extremely hard for us to exceed a capacity given how large the venue is,” Mr Jackson said.
“We are happy to see how this weekend goes before we think about changing any other restrictions going forward.”
Mr Jackson said there would still be a “hard limit” on the venue’s enclosed spaces, which include a bistro and café with a gift shop attached.
“We are still waiting on confirmation about the capacity of our aquarium. It will definitely be open, but we are just confirming the details,” he said.
The zoo was forced to shut its doors in late March due to COVID-19 restrictions, and said it was pleased to open in time for the ACT Reconciliation Day long weekend.
“We are very appreciative of the ACT Government for working so closely with us and achieving this outcome and we will be taking it very seriously,” Mr Jackson said.
“We will have as many staff on site as possible to make sure people are observing social distancing at all times.”
Following the zoo’s opening on Saturday, it will be open from 9.30am to 5pm seven days a week.
“We are extremely excited to be able to welcome back our members and visitors from
Saturday,” Mr Jackson said. “We know our animals will be delighted to see all the smiling faces also.
“We have had a few exciting arrivals since we closed who we can’t wait to introduce to everyone, as well as a few little ones that have grown over the last couple of months.”