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Omaha zoo plans to reopen on June 1 — with significant restrictions

Omaha zoo plans to reopen on June 1 — with significant restrictions

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Dust off those membership cards. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium will reopen June 1 — with significant restrictions.

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced the loosening of some directed health measures Thursday. Beginning June 1, public venues, such as arenas, stadiums and zoos, can open at 25% of their rated occupancy, but with no more than 3,000 people.

Officials said the zoo has been planning for its reopening for about a month and will share its reopening details, which include significant restrictions, on Tuesday.

“All of us at the zoo are thrilled to welcome guests back as part of our mission,” said Dennis Pate, president and CEO of the zoo.

Earlier this month, the zoo furloughed employees and eliminated positions after cutting its budget by 36% in response to COVID-19.

As a nonprofit, 91% of the zoo’s operating income comes from admissions, memberships and other sales such as concessions, gift shop items, rides and events.

The zoo also has instituted salary reductions, a hiring freeze and reductions in spending not related to animals.

Zoo officials thanked the community for supporting the zoo by purchasing memberships, which go directly to caring for more than 30,000 animals.

jwade@owh.com, 402-444-1067

Omaha World-Herald: Afternoon Update

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The zoo has been open for nearly a week and looks much different amid the coronavirus pandemic. All indoor exhibits are closed, and visitors are funneled on a one-way walk around the zoo. More exhibits could open in the next two or three weeks, zoo director Dennis Pate said.

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