"We can't wait to see you!" reads a tweet published yesterday by the SF Zoo in anticipation of Monday’s expected crowds (that will be capped at 50 percent capacity). And, honestly: we've never been more overjoyed at the promise of seeing ring-tailed lemurs fling themselves through a series of aerial acrobatics.
The San Francisco Zoo and Gardens was originally set to open its doors again on June 19, but a spike in COVID-19 cases prompted SF officials to slow the City's reopening plans. The sudden emergency brake-pull left them and other businesses like hair salons, tattoo studios, and museums reeling. But in a narrow turn of events, Mayor Breed announced Friday that the SF Zoo could reopen Monday, assuming certain health requirements were met; they, alas, have been completed.
Our staff, volunteers, animals & guests are our top priority and we’ve worked hard to implement enhanced protocols for your safety. Here are a few things to expect when you visit #SFZoo:— San Francisco Zoo (@sfzoo) July 11, 2020
•Online reservations only
•Facial coverings required
• New “rules of the road” pic.twitter.com/aHewMptGXj
Per NBC Bay Area, Breed's declaration yesterday omitted the other mentioned businesses from opening Monday, though they were promised they could "soon.” A clearer picture of when that exactly might be is expected to come after the Department of Public Health reveals its observed COVID-19 case trends — which will be shared alongside updates on other health indicators being used to manage the city's gradual reopening — Wednesday.
But! Back to the macaws, marsupials, and Madagascan hissing cockroaches.
Announced yesterday in a press release and across social media, the San Francisco Zoo will allow "members and guardians" to visit the facility on Monday and Tuesday, July 13 and July 14, after securing a ticket and time slot online. Members of the general public are set to be welcomed back into 100-acre faunal oasis Wednesday, July 15th, and will also need to book their reservations in advance online.
Let’s try this again! We’re thrilled to announce that #SFZoo will open to the general public on July 15! As we prepare for our reopening, we are excited to host our loyal #SFZoo Members and Guardians on July 13 & 14. Reservations can be made beginning Saturday, July 11 at 12 p.m. pic.twitter.com/MgdmgRLfkp— San Francisco Zoo (@sfzoo) July 10, 2020
As reported by KRON4, soon-to-be visitors are urged to visit the zoo’s website for updated safety guidelines and make sure they can comply with them. Among the now online-only reservation model, below are newer revisions:
- Apple Pay, Google Pay, and credit card transactions only
- Face coverings are required for all staff and visitors except children age two
- Zoo capacity will be limited to 50 percent
- Maintain six-foot distance between your group and others when waiting
- No in-and-out privileges
Though the zoo's website states that all talks and animal feedings are temporarily canceled, it's unclear if they’re now happening due to the swift reopening. (You can see a complete list of scheduled feeding here if they’re now a-go.)
As part of the well-received (and widely celebrated) announcement, the SF Zoo sent out a slew of tweets yesterday afternoon with one reading "Let’s try this again!". We're crossing our fingers that this second try, too, goes off swimmingly well — and doesn’t go the way of the dodo bird.
Related: A Lemur And A Rhino Made Some Art At SF Zoo, And You Can Purchase It 
Oakland Zoo In Danger Of Closing As Lockdown Orders Linger
Support the SF and Oakland Zoos As They Weather the Pandemic Shutdown
Image: Diana Parkhouse