Fresno Chaffee Zoo to reopen to visitors on Friday, officials say

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo will reopen June 12, with some new safety measures to keep guests and animals safe.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- You can soon see your favorite animals again.

After three months of closure due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo will reopen to the public this week.

Zoo officials announced Friday's reopening will come with restrictions and social distancing protocols to minimize large crowds inside the park

"We're going to limit the number of people who are inside the park and that's about 1,300 people at any one time which is more than adequate space when people come to the zoo," says the zoo's CEO Scott Barton.

Visitors will need to pre-purchase timed tickets online to avoid congestion at the entrance. This will also help staff monitor how many people are in the park at any given time.

Those with membership passes will also need to reserve their tickets in advance on the zoo's website.

Food services will reopen as well, but will also come with restrictions, like 'grab and go' type meals.

"The other thing we'd love you to do is to pay through credit card so we don't have cash exchanging hands. That's true of our food locations as well as at the entrance," says Barton.

The zoo has been closed since March 14. officials won't say have much they've lost financially during the closure but reveal the pandemic forced them to dip into the zoo's reserve fund.

"We got a federal loan so we are able to keep all of our staff on staff. And now with reopening layoffs, at least if we have to do them they'll be minimal compared to what we were looking at," says Barton.

The zoo is working with health officials to determine when and how to proceed with day camps this summer.

Their intention is to still hold the camps but are waiting for the go-ahead from the county and state.
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