A visitor looks at penguins swimming, at the London Zoo on the first day of its reopening since lockdown restrictions ease, during the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in London, Britain, June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville
LONDON (Reuters) – London Zoo reopened to only a fraction of the normal number of visitors on Monday as the world’s oldest scientific zoo welcomed guests for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close nearly three months ago.
The zoo, which is nearly 200 years old, normally shuts just once a year, on Christmas Day, but closed its doors on March 21 as Britain entered a lockdown designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The attraction has introduced a series of measures including a limit on visitor numbers, one-way routes, paw-print markers to ensure social distancing, alongside hand sanitiser dispensers and hand-washing facilities.
“We’re opening up with 2,000 people on a busy summer’s day that you would (normally) see six, seven, 8,000 people,” said Chief Operating Officer Kathryn England. “That’s a big difference but that’s to allow us to really make sure everybody feels safe.”
Reporting by Ben Makori; writing by Costas Pitas, editing by Estelle Shirbon