DUBLIN ZOO is set to reopen to the public from tomorrow.
From Tuesday, June 2, visitors will be able to catch-up with some of the Irish capital’s most beautiful and fascinating animals after being closed for nearly three months.
The zoo has been shut since March 12 as part of Irish government restrictions designed to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Under plans for the reopening, the zoo will operate at a reduced capacity and with strict new health and safety protocols in place.
Anyone wishing to visit the zoo will need to book online with tickets no longer available to buy on the gate.
Visits will also be divided into two daily sessions - one morning and one afternoon – with a maximum of 500 people allowed in each session for an initial trial period.
The trial period will see the zoo operating at less than 10% of its usual capacity.
Visitors will be expected to follow a newly-installed outdoor, one-way walking route designed to reinforce social distancing, while hand sanitiser stations and signs reminding visitors of the new hygiene rules will also be prominent.
Dublin Zoo staff will also be kitted out in PPE where required and expected to adhere to an enhanced on-site cleaning regime.
Because some animals reside in enclosed habitat viewing areas they will remain closed to visitors.
That means animals like the zoo’s wolves, hippo, Waldrapp ibis, Amur tigers and the red pandas will remain behind closed doors for the time being.
Visitors will still be able to see the majority of Dublin Zoo’s animal residents though including the herd of Asian elephants, chimpanzees, the Western lowland gorillas, giraffe, rhino, zebra, sealions, penguins, lemurs, orangutans, and lions.
Leo Oosterweghel, Director of Dublin Zoo, said that: "As we approach this new chapter of our history with cautious optimism, our priority during this reopening phase will be to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, visitors and the continued provision of world-class animal care."
"These past weeks have been a very challenging time for Dublin Zoo, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for the thousands of messages we have received extending their love and support to us."
He is calling for patience and understanding as staff and visitors adapt to the new way of operating, which is being introduced on a trial basis.
Mr Oosterweghel asked people to have patience and understanding as both staff and visitors get used to the new ways of operating.