‘It’s a massive relief’ Knowsley Safari Park reopening on Monday

Knowsley Safari Park has said it is "a massive relief" and staff are excited about being able to reopen from next week, but feel the announcement "should have been sooner".

In a Downing Street press conference today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce that zoos and safari parks will be allowed to reopen from June 15 as coronavirus lockdown measures are further eased.

A list of places, including non-essential shops and services were told last month that they would be allowed to reopen on that date, but this didn’t include zoos.

Knowsley Safari Park were one of many popular attractions across the country who spoke out about their worries and frustrations and demanded answers as to why they were unable to reopen.

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But after being under pressure from zoos warning they face an exponential threat, today's announcement will state they can reopen next week, in accordance with social distancing rules.

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Edward Perry, Managing Director of Knowsley Safari, said: "Reopening safaris and zoos on 15th June is very good news, but we feel it should have been sooner.

"Knowsley Safari has been ready for the past week to safely open to the public and we still can’t understand why it’s been ok for people to jump in their cars to go and get Big Macs, but not to come and see our big cats.

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"After being shut for such a long period, every day really does count in terms of ticket sales and generating much needed revenue to care for over 700 animals.

Knowsley Safari Park can reopen next week, in accordance with social distancing rules.

"We’re very pleased Knowsley Safari can reopen from next Monday and look forward to welcoming back visitors from across Liverpool and Merseyside.

"We’re now urging people to take advantage of the online booking system and allocated visitor timeslots, which help with social distancing and COVID-19 safety.

"There’s been a whole host of new births amongst the animals during lockdown and we know our visitors will be thrilled to see these new arrivals.

"It’s a massive relief for the whole team here at Knowsley Safari to know we can reopen and everyone is very excited."

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Last week, Knowsley Safari Park said it is "well-prepared, ready and waiting to reopen" and that coronavirus safety measures are already in place across the site.

These include:

  • Only accepting online bookings to avoid handling cash
  • Specific time-slots for visitors in their vehicles
  • Protective screens at the entry kiosks
  • Signage in the park and on the roads around the Safari

A marked picnic area away from the Safari Drive is also available to enable people who want to eat their own food outside their vehicle to do so while social distancing.

Lions inside Knowsley Safari Park.

The popular attraction also expressed their frustrations further in a series of tweets to put a number of questions to the Government with the hashtag "OpenKnowsleySafari."

One tweet read: "Our #COVID-19 question to @GOVUK – Why can you jump in your car to get a Big Mac but not to see our big cats?"

Another said: "#COVID-19 question to @GOVUK –why’s it ok to go out shopping for Billy Bookcases but not to come see our bison, buffalo and big cats?"

Today's announcement will also pave the way for Chester Zoo to reopen from Monday, who have already issued an emotional statement regarding the news.

Last week, Chester Zoo pleaded with supporters in a brutally honest statement to help “Save our Zoo”, launching a campaign to raise funds, which saw donations quickly flooded in and £2.4m raised in one week.

Mr Johnson will announce the easing of restrictions on outdoor attractions where people stay in their cars, including drive in cinemas, as there is less risk of spreading coronavirus.