Reopen News: New York Aquarium reopening postponed due to new Phase 4 guidelines

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The Wildlife Conservation Society is still moving forward with plans to reopen its four zoos based on new Phase 4 guidelines from New York State on Friday, but will postpone the reopening of the NY Aquarium until further guidance from the state.

All outdoor exhibits and grounds at its four zoos (Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo) will be open, while indoor exhibits will not open at this time.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that New York City would move into Phase 4 but this phase for this region will now not include indoor activity in malls, restaurants, or cultural institutions.

As announced previously by WCS, all four zoos will be open Monday through Thursday this coming week, July 20-23 for WCS members only; and open to all guests beginning on Friday, July 24.

All other details, including new safety protocols, from WCS's earlier announcement on its parks reopening will remain the same.

"WCS is committed to following all guidelines from the state and city and ensuring that guests have a safe and enjoyable experience in its parks," the organization said in a statement. "All its zoos offer extensive outdoor exhibits and grounds that allow guests to have experiences with nature and wildlife."

As guidelines from the state and city change, WCS says they will adhere to all their mandates and keep the public informed about park operations.

Highlights of reopening guidelines for all four WCS zoos:

-Tickets must be purchased online for a specific date/time.
- No walk-up/on-site tickets will be available.
- At the Bronx Zoo, tickets will be sold for entry at 10am; noon; and 2pm. At the other parks, entry time slots will be sold on the hour all day until closing.
- Members and Healthcare Heroes must obtain tickets online and these tickets too will be date and time specific.
- The traditional free Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo will begin Wednesday, July 29 and require advance ticketing online.
- Masks/Face coverings will be required at all zoos and the aquarium for all visitors ages 3 and up.

- Social distancing protocols will be in effect throughout the parks.
- Cleaning procedures will be enhanced, especially in high-touch areas.
- Lines, stores, and food concessions will be monitored to ensure that mask wearing and social distancing recommendations are met.
- Day camps and education programs will be available online and will be virtual.

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