Zoos in England will be allowed to reopen from 15 June, the UK government has confirmed.
The move comes as part of plans to restart the country's economy as lockdown measures continue to ease.
Tomorrow (10 June), Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to set out plans for the reopening of zoos and 'outdoor attractions where people stay in their cars, such as safari parks and drive-in cinemas'.
However, with strict social distancing guidelines necessary for sites to reopen, it will mean that indoor activities and attractions, such as reptile rooms, and amenities including cafes, will remain closed.
Confirming the news, a spokesperson for Downing Street said: "People are continuing to make huge sacrifices to reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid a second spike, but we know it is tough and where we can safely open up more attractions, and it is supported by the science, we will do so.
"This is by necessity a careful process, but we hope the reopening of safari parks and zoos will help provide families with more options to spend time outdoors, while supporting the industry caring for these incredible animals."
This announcement will no doubt be welcomed by staff at Chester Zoo who recently warned that the park might have to close if lockdown wasn't eased soon.
Chester Zoo staff said that although they've 'tried to stay positive during this pandemic' and become a 'beacon of hope' for recovery, they needed to raise £1.6m ($2m) per month just to get by.
They've since raised £2.3m ($2.9m) in just a few days.
However, further support has arrived from the frozen food specialists over at Iceland who adopted all of the zoo's Humboldt penguins.
Announcing the news, the supermarket chain tweeted: "We've joined the fight to save @chesterzoo and have adopted the penguins.
"The zoo has over 35,000 threatened and critically endangered animals but may have to close its doors for good due to Covid-19 laws."
:penguin::tiger: SAVE THE ZOO :monkey::elephant: @chesterzoo has over 35,000 threatened and critically endangered animals but may have to close its doors for good as the government has ordered them to stay closed indefinitely.
Please visit the website to see how you can help: https://t.co/TNSNGkfRBQ pic.twitter.com/csQJv9nZLX
- Iceland Foods :snowflake: (@IcelandFoods) June 8, 2020
The Humboldt penguin is one of those 500 or so rare species at the zoo, so the work being done at Chester Zoo is more important than ever.
In fact, the penguins living there recently gave birth to a new bunch of chicks, who have all been named after NHS heroes and hospitals in honour of the key workers fighting the good fight out there.
Iceland's Managing Director Richard Walker said: "We were all saddened to hear of Chester Zoo's recent struggles - it's the heart of the local community in Chester and a much loved family favourite.
"I remember visiting the zoo as a child and my own kids love going there.
"We're proud to be able to lend them our support both through the adoption of the Humboldt penguins on behalf of our colleagues, and by lobbying in support of zoos being allowed to reopen soon.
"The conservation work undertaken by the zoo is vital and along with the park itself reopening it is incredibly important that this amazing work is able to continue."
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