You CAN still go to the zoo tomorrow!

You CAN still go to the zoo tomorrow!

You CAN still go to the zoo tomorrow! Animal lovers are allowed to see lions, tigers and gorillas again despite strict Tier 4 Covid lockdown rules

  • In amendment, people living under Tier 4 rules can visit outdoors areas in zoos
  • Zoos were told of changes to regulations on Christmas Eve by the charity BIAZA
  • Chessington, ZSL London Zoo and Marwell Zoo have since re-opened to visitors

Animal lovers are allowed to see lions, tigers and gorillas at zoos across England again despite Tier 4 Covid lockdown rules.

In an amendment to Government legislation, people under the strict regulations can visit outdoor areas in zoos with their household, support bubble or one other person while maintaining social distancing.

Businesses were told of the change to regulations, which has not yet been published under the government’s Tier 4 guidance, on Christmas Eve after being notified by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

Many zoos in Tier 4 areas have since announced they will be re-opening, including Chessington, ZSL London Zoo, Howletts Wild Animal Park near Kent and Marwell Zoo in Hampshire.

In an amendment, people under the Tier 4 regulations can visit outdoor areas in zoos with their household, support bubble or one other person while maintaining social distancing (file photo)

Businesses were told of the change to regulations, which has not yet been published under the government’s Tier 4 guidance, on Christmas Eve by the charity BIAZA (file photo)

Marwell Zoo re-opened on Sunday, while Chessington and Howletts welcomed back visitors yesterday and ZSL London Zoo is set to re-open tomorrow.

Howletts wrote on its website: ‘We are delighted to announce that from December 29, 2020, you will be able to visit Howletts Wild Animal Park and our sister park, Port Lympne Reserve, but there are some restrictions in place.’

It then mentioned tickets must be booked online in advance, the number of tickets will be limited and there will be no keeper talks or animal experiences.

Meanwhile, Marwell Zoo said: ‘We are delighted to announce that from December 29, 2020, you will be able to visit Howletts Wild Animal Park and our sister park, Port Lympne Reserve, but there are some restrictions in place.’

Referring to all tiers, the amendment to the government’s legislation says that people can visit ‘outdoor attractions at an aquarium, zoo or safari park’ from Boxing Day. 

It adds that visitors can also go to ‘outdoor animal attractions at a farm, wildlife centre or any other place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction’. 

Chessington in Kingston upon Thames, London, re-opened yesterday. It said: ‘We ask everyone to take note of their local restrictions and that of the Zoo before pre-booking a ticket’

The announcement on Chessington’s website, pictured. It said: ‘Government guidance states those in Tier 4 can visit some public outdoor places, including zoos’

Nicky Needham, Acting Joint Director of BIAZA, confirmed to MailOnline that its members were alerted to this amendment on Christmas Eve. 

It follows zoos warning in October that animals faced extinction as a result of the pandemic as they said they were unable to access vital funding to help them survive.

Kathryn England, London Zoo Chief Operating Officer, told the BBC’s Today programme: ‘We’re all about conservation and preventing animals from going extinct so it’s a really horrible place to be where we’re actually worried ourselves about the reality of going extinct.

‘That is a scary place for us to be right now.’

MailOnline has contacted the Health Department for comment. 

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