The effects of the pandemic on not just lives, but the economy, have been catastrophic, with many shops, restaurants, pubs, and businesses unsure about their immediate futures.
Zoos have been hit just about as hard as anywhere, but now the government has announced that zoos in England will be reopening from June 15th as part of its plan to open up more outdoor areas.
Confirming the news, a spokesperson for Downing Street said: “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.”
One of the biggest zoos in the country, Chester Zoo, had been honest about its uncertain predicament on social media, admitting that it was fighting for its future due to the pandemic.
After a huge outpouring of support, the zoo then launched their #SaveOurZoo appeal, which asked the public to help them raise a huge 1.6 million per month to keep the zoo alive, which they smashed, generating £2.4 million after just a week.
Over 100,000 individual people donated to the cause, organised fundraisers, and rallied for the iconic North West zoo – and Iceland even adopted all of their Humboldt penguins in a bid to support them.
Announcing the news, the supermarket chain tweeted: “We’ve joined the fight to save @chesterzoo and have adopted the penguins.
“The zoo has over 35,000 threatened and critically endangered animals but may have to close its doors for good due to Covid-19 laws.”
Speaking about the news of the zoo’s reopening, Jamie Christon, Chief Operating Officer at Chester Zoo, said:
“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. 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 (10/06/2020), on the 89th birthday of Chester Zoo, we have hope that we will survive.”
And get this, the news comes on the eve of Chester Zoo’s 89th birthday.
What better way to celebrate?!
Images via Chester Zoo
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent editor, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over several features and investigative pieces, arguably letting The Hook audience in on way too much of his personal life.