Memphis Zoo reopens with new safety precautions

Memphis Zoo reopens with new safety precautions

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Memphis Zoo is back open, with a lot of precautions in place. While the face coverings and social distancing reminders are a sign of the times, visitors are glad to be back.

The sanitizers are in motion. The masks are on. The social distancing markers are out.

After more than a month of being closed, the Memphis Zoo reopened Wednesday. To do it in a safe manner and follow CDC guidelines, the Zoo is not accepting cash right now and is encouraging people to buy tickets online ahead of time.

Signs show visitors where to stand to maximize social distancing. Masks have to be worn at all times for the safety of visitors and those who call the Zoo home.

“We’re requiring facial coverings because our animals cannot wear them,” said Nick Harmeier, Memphis Zoo Chief Marketing Officer.

Only 2,500 people can be inside the zoo at once. That wasn’t a problem on reopening day. A live count of zoo visitors online showed the number well under the limit. By mid afternoon, just a few hundred people were inside.

“We got here at 9:30 in case there was a crowd, but there wasn’t,” said Jamie Oliphant, Memphis Zoo visitor.

The indoor areas remain closed, but some vendors have moved outside. With the Memphis Zoo closed for so long it missed out on needed revenue. It takes about $16,000 a day to care of the animals at the Zoo.

“The revenue is a big piece we’re very excited to start generating revenue again,” said Harmeier. “We’re also excited about showcasing our Zoo during one of the most beautiful times of the year.”

While things may look different, there is a sense of normalcy that isn’t lost on the visitors.

“It was great to get out as a family and do something we used to do,” said Oliphant.

“As long as we can open up our favorite places and stay safe at the same time I think it’s a great first step,” said Brittany Weathersby, Memphis Zoo visitor.

To learn more about the Memphis Zoo reopening, click here.

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.