The Maryland Zoo announced today that it will extend its closure indefinitely as a precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). April events and programs will not be held as scheduled. Ticketed programs including Yoga at the Zoo, Breakfast with Bunny and other Breakfast with the Animals events are being rescheduled. Bunny BonanZoo, scheduled for April 10 – 12, has been cancelled.
The Zoo is also announcing the temporary layoff of approximately 60 employees. “This was the most difficult decision I have had to make in my twelve years at the Zoo. I know all of the employees personally, they are loyal and hardworking,” stated Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “Like many other zoos, we rely on ticket sales, special events, memberships, concessions and gift shop revenue to operate the Zoo. Without this income, unfortunately, and through no fault of their own, we must temporarily layoff some of our staff. Once we are able to reopen, we hope to bring back as many of the staff as we can.”
Critical operations staff, including the animal care and veterinary teams, continue working at the Zoo to provide vital care to the animals and infrastructure. “Our animal care and veterinary staff have split into varying teams, working ten hour shifts to minimize exposure to other teams,” continued Hutchinson. “The staff is doing more work with less people on their daily teams to maintain our high standard of care for the 1,500 animals that call the Zoo home. We cannot thank them enough for their dedication.” Administrative staff are not interacting with their animal care colleagues in person.
The Zoo will extend current and new memberships to match the closure period, and members are receiving exclusive weekly emails with educational content and activities. “Maryland Zoo members are part of what makes the Zoo such a special place, and we are committed to providing them members-only benefits as best as we can during the closure,” continued Hutchinson.
New “ZOO TO YOU” videos are posted daily at 11 a.m. on the Zoo’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/marylandzoo, along with links to live animal cams and updates from the dedicated care teams. For updates on the Zoo closure and upcoming programs and events, please visit www.marylandzoo.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.