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Further measures have been announced to support Scotland’s zoos and aquariums.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that from 29 June outdoor areas of zoos and gardens will be able to open to the public, provided appropriate measures are put in place to ensure physical distancing and compliance with phase 2 restrictions.

When re-opening, establishments will be strongly encouraged to use online and/or telephone ticket sales to control the number of people on site at any given time and only those who live in the local area (within five miles) should be visiting zoos until further notice.

This reopening date has been announced alongside an emergency funding support package worth £2.6 million. The funding will be split into £1.6 million for grants and £1 million for loans and will be made available to zoos and aquariums across the country for preserving animal welfare.  

Zoos have faced significant difficulties throughout the lockdown, with reduced income resulting in shortfalls in funding.

Commenting on the First Minister’s statement in the chamber, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Zoos and gardens across Scotland can now begin preparations to welcome local visitors and animal enthusiasts back onto their grounds, in a safe and physically distanced manner, from 29 June.

“Physical distancing rules have had a significant impact on the entire UK zoo sector. Like many businesses, they are heavily dependent on seasonality and make most of their money over the spring and summer period. There is little income with the doors closed but unlike other visitor attractions money is still required to feed animals and pay staff to care for them.

“This £2.6 million funding package will provide a lifeline for zoos and aquariums to keep their critical work ongoing and protect animal welfare issues.”

The Joint Acting Director for the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums Nicky Needham said:

“We welcome today’s reopening announcement which will help Scotland’s fantastic zoos and aquariums continue the amazing conservation, education and the care they provide to their animals. Zoos and aquariums have faced extraordinary challenges, providing an exceptional level of animal care while incomes have disappeared during closure.

"BIAZA looks forward to working with Scottish Government officials to ensure further support to allow zoos and aquariums to thrive in the longer term future.”