The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert will reopen to the public Monday after being closed for nearly three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Animal lovers will be invited back beginning at 7 a.m. Monday amid new safety protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, including required face coverings, a cap on guest capacity and timed ticketing.
"We look forward to welcoming our community to safely enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces of The Living Desert," said Allen Monroe, president and CEO. "The health and wellbeing of our guests, staff, and animals remains our top priority. We have been working diligently on our reopening plans to ensure that we follow all CDC, WHO, and local health and safety recommendations and orders."
The park reopened over the weekend for members, before the general public is allowed back.
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Zoo officials said they worked with both state and county officials in creating specific precautions to guard against COVID-19, including:
-- limiting entry to 200 guests per hour with a maximum of 1,000 guests per day, including both members and daily visitors;
-- all tickets must be purchased in advance, including tickets for members, using the zoo's online system. Tickets can be reserved up to two weeks in advance for contact-free and expedited admissions;
-- masks must be worn that cover both the nose and mouth for all guests over 3 years old;
-- traffic within the zoo will flow one way, in a counterclockwise direction; -- six feet of social distance must be maintained, and guests will be discouraged from congregating with members of other households while in the park; and
-- to maintain proper social distancing, certain indoor spaces and special experiences will be closed.
The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens will maintain its summer hours of operation, with the gates and gardens opening at 7 a.m. and the zoo and amenities open from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with last admission at 1 p.m.
For additional information on the zoo's safety protocols, visit www.LivingDesert.org/Health.