UPDATE 6/29: Due to a surge in COVID-19 infections, the City of El Paso has postponed the reopening as a precaution until a date to be determined later.

It won't be business as usual, but it will be open.

When the El Paso Zoo reopens to the public on Wednesday, July 1, social distancing rules, limited days, hours, and attendance, and mandatory wearing of face coverings are some of what will be different. Here is what you can expect when people are allowed back in.

• Hours of operation Wednesdays-Fridays will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Saturdays and Sundays, the zoo will open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Attendance will be limited to whatever the current capacity limit is at the time
• Everyone will be required to wear face covering
• No interactive experiences will be offered
• Visitor experiences will be offered outside only. That means no shows, demonstrations or visits inside buildings
• The train ride, carousel, ropes course and tree house playground will remain closed. The splash pad will be open

Operations to prioritize the health and safety of workers and visitors will change as well. For example, janitorial services will be increased in bathrooms and other high-touch areas per Office of Emergency Management guidelines. Other changes in that area:

• Staff will wear appropriate face coverings and/or PPE
• Restaurant service will be offered, at allowable capacity levels (like restaurants)
• Merchandise sales will be outdoor service only

The changes to the zoo-going experience are due to state mandated COVID-19 guidelines and safety rules. Things will be adjusted and added as directives from the state allow. The change to days and hours of operations is due to budget limitations.

The El Paso Zoo is part of the City of El Paso's phased approach to reopening a number of facilities that two months ago were given no chance of seeing visitors again because of the pandemic's effect on the city's budget. Although the financial situation hasn't changed, city officials made the decision to reopen some quality of life services to encourage exercise and help maintain good mental health, according to a city press release.

City parks recently reopened with some restrictions.

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