Jeramey Jannene

Milwaukee Zoo Reopening, With Mask Requirement

Reservations required, limited hours, but most attractions open.

By - Jun 9th, 2020 09:03 pm

An African elephant (Loxodonta) Milwaukee County Zoo Milwaukee, WI. Photo by Ronincmc [CC BY-SA (].

An African elephant (Loxodonta) Milwaukee County Zoo Milwaukee, WI. Photo by Ronincmc (CC BY-SA).

The Milwaukee County Zoo is back as an outdoor-only experience.

Closed since March 15th, the county-owned facility will reopen to the public, with a few restrictions.

One, members of the public will not be able to go into indoor areas. Two, all employees and guests, over the age of two, must wear a mask. The facility will provide masks to those that do not have them.

“We want to make sure we are protecting everybody,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley in announcing the news during a Tuesday afternoon press briefing. “When we think about the zoo opening up this is an exciting time, but we need to remind folks that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.”

There will also be capacity restrictions on the 190-acre campus. Online reservations will be required for all visitors, and visitors must arrive within a designated time window. Signage will be installed to guide social distancing between patrons.

“Please, please, please wear your facemask to protect you and those around you,” he said.

There will still be elephants, giraffes, zebras, tigers, grizzly bears, camels and flamingos despite the restrictions. But high touch areas, including the goat yard and zip line will be closed for the time being.

The zoo will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. initially. Future phases will add additional attractions and hours.

Standard zoo admission and parking fees apply.

Crowley said the safety standards are based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

The opening comes as Milwaukee County estimates it will lose $105 million in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. County officials the costs to respond to the pandemic could total $450 million.

A May estimate said the county could spend $20 million on personal protective equipment alone in 2020.

Milwaukee County originally expected to receive $165 million from federal CARES Act funding, but a rulemaking change sent $103 million of that to the state.

“We are going to continue to talk about the lack of CARES funding, both from the federal and state funds,” said Crowley.

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