Zoo New England

Franklin Park, Stone Zoos Set to Reopen With New Safety Protocols

Both facilities will open to members only from May 28 through June 3, then to the general public on June 4

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Two Boston-area zoos are planning to reopen, but with new safety protocols in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Zoo New England, which operates the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, announced Tuesday that both facilities will open to members only at first starting Thursday and running until June 3.

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Both zoos will open to the general public starting June 4.

Online reservations for arrival at a specific time are required of both members and non-members, and guests will have to wear face coverings and keep 6 feet away from other parties.

Zoo New England President and CEO, John Linehan said when the zoos were shut down in March they lost an estimated $2-3 million.

"We've had furloughs, salary reductions. But we've had a lot of staff coming in day in, day out taking care of our animals — people taking care of our facilities to make sure the animals are safe, warm and dry," Linehan said.

He added that what has lessened the blow has been watching the number of new, small donors who have helped Zoo New England through the crisis.

"It's a great slice of humanity we get to interact with. It really gives you extra strength," he said.

As the zoo begins to reopen, Linehan said training is in place to keep everyone safe.

"We have to, unfortunately, untrain the staff from being interactive with our guests and make it a much more passive observational experience," Linehan said.

Smaller museums are reopening across Massachusetts, including at the Ecotarium in Worcester. But the animal sanctuary will be quite different with social distancing regulations in place.
NBC10 Boston and Associated Press
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