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UPDATE: Detroit Zoo will temporarily close amid coronavirus pandemic

Detroit Zoo's annual holiday light display
Posted at 2:43 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 18:28:38-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Detroit Zoo now says they will temporarily close during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an article posted on the website Monday.

Full coverage: Coronavirus outbreak in Michigan

The zoo had said they were taking precautions for the safety of visitors, staff, volunteers and all of the animals.

They now say:

At this time, however, we have decided to temporarily close the Detroit Zoo to the public through the end of March. We will continue to monitor developments on an hourly basis to assess how to move forward. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time and encourage everyone to follow the guidelines as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and stay safe.

In an effort to spread some much-needed joy, we’ll be sharing many glorious photographs of the animals who live here at the Detroit Zoo as well as educational videos and live streams on our social media channels.

As for why they would have remained open, the zoo said it "is a very large and open outdoor space that spans one-hundred-and-twenty-five acres. We remain open to the public, and we have taken a number of precautions, including closing our indoor facilities and installing many extra hand sanitizing stations throughout the Zoo, as indicated below. We urge people to use their best judgment, avoid tight, crowded spaces and stay home if they are sick. We want to be here for anyone in our community who may need us, but we encourage everyone to be proactive when it comes to their own health and safety."

They have instituted several changes, including closing all indoor facilities. Also, no more than 1,250 guests will be able to be in the 125-acre park at one time, with a maximum daily guest count of around 5,000 guests.

All playscapes will be closed and all events and education programs have been canceled.

"DZS staff has placed many extra hand sanitizing stations throughout the Zoo grounds. All of the outdoor areas of the Zoo’s one-hundred-and-twenty-five acres are accessible with the exception of the canopy walkway over the Holtzman Wildlife Foundation Red Panda Forest and the vehicle installation at the Devereaux Tiger Forest. In an effort to minimize the spread of germs, we are closing our indoor areas and restaurants, including but not limited to the Ford Education Center, the National Amphibian Conservation Center, the Holden Reptile Conservation Center, the walk-through section of the Australian Outback Adventure, the indoor section of the Arctic Ring of Life, the Matilda R. Wilson Free-Flight Aviary and the Arctic Cafe. Rides, playscapes and gift shops will be closed through the end of April."

The Bell Isle nature Center will be closed through the end of April, and the otter habitat will be open with doors propped open.