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Oakland Zoo faces permanent closure if it doesn't reopen this month

By RWSGFY follow RWSGFY   2020 Jul 1, 7:01pm 509 views  3 comments           share      

Following drastic budget cuts and millions of dollars in revenue loss, the Oakland Zoo is faced with the possibility of closing permanently if it does not receive approval to reopen this month, according to Dr. Joel Parrott, the zoo’s president and CEO.
Normally, attendance soars during July, and the popular summer months are critical to sustaining the zoo’s operating costs through the less-visited winter season.
But this year has been anything but normal.
In mid-March, the zoo was forced to close with no reopening date in sight. As the pandemic lingered, zookeepers and veterinary staff had their wages cut by 20%, while the zoo’s executive staff saw pay reductions of at least 40%. The following month, all part-time and seasonal employees were laid off, and by July, 15 permanent, full-time employees representing 10% of the zoo’s remaining workforce were also furloughed.

Now, the zoo is down to a dire $3.2 million in its emergency reserve fund. To put that into perspective, the cost to keep the zoo running at its lowest possible operating budget is $1.2 million per month, focused on caring for the animals and 24/7 public safety.

“If we don’t open in July, we won’t make it through the winter,” said Parrott. “And if that’s the case, we have about three months to go.”
Though the zoo received a PPP loan in mid-April, it only helped it stay afloat temporarily as it prepared to safely reopen with restrictions in place. Social-distancing markers and hand sanitizer stations were installed throughout the park as staff received special safety training.

During this time, the zoo also spearheaded “Behind the Scenes,” a daily interactive livestream program with the goal of virtually connecting guests with animals and zookeepers during the shelter-in-place order to help generate revenue.
But as the zoo continued to wait for approval from county public health officials, the funds from its PPP loan ran out, forcing the park to dip into its already draining financial reserves. The Oakland Zoo is currently classified as a Stage 3 business, but Parrott said the staff is vying for it to be considered as an outdoor museum, allowing it to continue operations. The San Francisco Zoo (which was slated to reopen on Monday but later deferred) attempted to obtain a similar title, but was consistently denied.

1   Hircus   2020 Jul 1, 7:11pm  

It clearly systemic racism that this is happening in a town where many of the metro's black people live.

Nothing to do with the local govt.
2   RC2006   2020 Jul 1, 8:16pm  

Would rather zoo got money than projects.
3   RWSGFY   2020 Jul 1, 8:43pm  

RC2006 says
Would rather zoo got money than projects.


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