The Big Cats Coming Back
Last night you heard the Attorney General talk about the re-opening of Archaeological sites, and tourism attractions such as Shark Ray Alley.
And, one other major attraction that is reopening is the Belize Zoo. The 37 year old facility has planned a soft-reopening even for this coming weekend of Saturday, May 23rd, and Sunday, May 24th.
They're hoping that the regular flow of traffic into the Zoo will gradually increase to those pre-COVID-19 numbers.
Our news team visited the Zoo this afternoon, and we spoke with one of the senior zoo-keepers about this weekend's soft launch. She told us that persons who want to visit will have to observe the strict social distancing protocols which the government continues to mandate:
Roxanna Lemus - Animal Record Keeper, Belize Zoo
"We've been planning this as a management group for the past weeks. Since the Zoo has been closed, we've had minimal staff, and only zookeepers have been here. So, we've had other staff members who volunteered to come into the zoo to clean. There has been no one doing the maintenance work, so we had other people coming in to rake and tidy up. We've been planning on how to mark our pathways, and how we're gonna keep everyone with that 6-feet distance."
"Everyone will be having their masks on. So, we'll have keepers along with other zoo personnel also patrolling the zoo, making sure that this is being maintained so that everyone is abiding by the law."
"We'll also have our cafeteria opened. So, we're gonna have everything spaced out since it's outdoors. So, we are allowed to sell food. Everyone will need to order the food also before coming in and getting their food."
"How challenging has it been for you guys during these last few weeks since the State of Emergency was declared?"
"So, it has been really to hard just like on everyone else because we had to make that decision to, sending staff home, and having them on hold until everything comes back. The Zoo depends a lot on foreign guests. We do get a lot of Belizeans who come to the Zoo, but most of our income comes from guests who come from outside. Our income depends on them, and so it has been a challenge because we have all these 200+ animals to feed. It's a lot of money that goes into feeding them, but we've had a lot of people who've supported us during this time."
Opening hours for this Saturday and Sunday will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last admission for a full tour of the Zoo is at 3:15 p.m., to give the visitors and the staff enough time to provide the full zoo experience.
Admission is $7 for adults and $2 for children, ages 3 to 12. Also, every family group that visits during the soft launch will be gifted with a complimentary copy of a guide book for Zoo.