Following the latest government announcement on 14th December 2020, we would like to confirm that Paradise Wildlife Park falls under East Herts District Council and therefore remains in tier 2. Although, we still remain in tier 2 we have reduced our daily capacity of visitors even further to help play our part in stopping the spread of Coronavirus.
To help keep our animals, team and visitors safe, we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to please refrain from visiting if you are displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus (New continuous cough, loss of taste/ smell and a high temperature).
We would also like to advise all visitors to familiarise themselves on the guidance of their tiered area before visiting Paradise Wildlife Park.
Thank you for your continued support through these challenging times.
For further information on what you can expect and the breakdown of our re-opening plan please see below
This document sets out a possible route for Paradise Wildlife Park, the Zoological Society of Hertfordshire to reopen from Wednesday 2nd December 2020. It is inherent in this plan that decisions on reopening will be dependent on government rules and guidelines. Therefore, this document serves as guidance and a series of options, which may be utilised to facilitate a reopening. Components of this plan may be reordered where appropriate.
A phased approach consisting of multiple components is detailed below. It is possible that there may be phases of further lockdown and therefore this reopening plan may be used on several occasions in this uncertain period where the epidemiology of the SARS –CoV-2 virus is not yet fully understood. If this is the case, then we will learn what aspects of reopening work well and what may need revision.
There are aspects of the virus that are sufficiently understood that they should inform this plan, however. Covid-19 predominantly affects older age groups most severely, and in recent analysis from the UK 9/10 fatalities have occurred in patients with comorbidities. Older people (70 plus) with an average of 2.7 comorbidities were the most prevalent individuals in death outcomes. Younger people are less severely affected. At the timing of writing, deaths in the UK associated with Covid have mainly occurred in over 60’s and the majority are over 80’s. There are sex differences in both severity of the illness and fatalities, with men much more likely to be hospitalised after contracting the disease and make up at least twice the fatalities at all age groups (as seen in multiple jurisdictions). Blood group has also been linked to outcomes, as has obesity (though generally not listed as a comorbidity). It is clear that for most people (80%+) the illness is not severe and affected individuals may have mild symptoms. Indeed, there may be a very high number of asymptomatic carriers, particularly amongst the young, who have the potential to spread the disease, as they are unaware that they have the virus. Precautionary assumptions should inform reopening.
Even if the Zoo opens’ we must be aware that visitors may be nervous about visiting. However, we do know from a recent survey in the USA that open-air visitor attractions, such as zoos, had a high level of confidence when the public was surveyed about what they would be most happy to visit after lockdown was relaxed. The zoo is 32 acres of fresh air and wide paths and therefore a safe place to visit. This is a strong message that should be woven into all communications. It is also clear that a pro-longed lockdown has ramifications for poorer mental health and the zoo setting of beautiful parkland with animals is a restful and beneficial environment. Recent studies have shown that visiting natural looking zoo exhibits leads to a drop in both blood pressure and cortisol hormone levels, scientifically underpinning the health benefits for all visiting a natural looking zoo such as Paradise.
Many visitors will arrive by their own private vehicles. Some will also arrive by public transport i.e. the train at Broxbourne station, which is only 5 minutes from the zoo, then take taxi.
This plan is subject to change as we learn more about Covid-19 and the position on the curve in which the UK is currently placed.
We must, primarily, consider the health and wellbeing of our own staff and animals before any decision is taken to reopen, even with government relaxation of lockdown. To ensure the safety of our staff, and to minimise risk, protective screening will be installed at indoor ‘contact’ points. These include the front admissions desk, the catering outlets and retail shop counters. We have conducted several inhouse site surveys and assessed where protection could be fitted using clear acrylic sheeting of the appropriate standard (10mm). These screens are now fitted, and signage will be installed soon. These can be easily removed but also easily reinstalled.
In conjunction, government guidelines on social distancing will be adhered to throughout the zoo. Signage reminding both staff and visitors of social distancing, frequent handwashing and covering mouth if sneezing etc. will continue to be displayed in both public and staff areas.
Although it is not mandatory, we will advise visitors to wear face masks while visiting the zoo. This is only advisory but will help protect our staff, animals and other visitors. We will additionally sell masks at the zoo for purchase on arrival.
We understand that after another month of lockdown that visitors may be very keen to return and we can envisage on the first day/first week of reopening that we may find that we have high numbers, which could be potentially problematic whilst coming out of a lockdown scenario. Therefore, we will implement a limited numbers approach initially, to judge how social distancing methods and facemask advice is being adhered to by visitors.
Pinch points will be at the entrance, catering outlets, toilets and the shop. Therefore, at these areas, floor stickers will be utilised to demarcate social distancing to allow safe spaces. In addition, indoor animal houses have a potential to be more crowded, therefore we will keep these to a one-way system with social distancing floor stickers implemented. We hope to have some volunteers help monitor visitor numbers present in the house at any one time.
Catering outlets will operate as takeaway only initially, as outdoor seating is available. We do note however the necessity of regular cleaning of outdoor seating areas – whether outlets or seating at other areas of the zoo.
The gift shop can be reconfigured to provide a separate entrance & exit points, to try and manage the visitor flow through the site.
First aid services will be of course still provided in the zoo. We will assume that all visitors potentially have Covid and could be asymptomatic and therefore staff attending to first aid incidents will wear face mask/face shields/protective apron, stored with the other emergency first aid materials. There will be a specific team of staff that will adhere to first aid support onsite each day.
It is likely that moving between phases 1, 2 and 3, in the Paradise plan will be predicated upon government guidelines relaxing lockdown for the UK and best practice amongst the wider zoo community in Europe. Further information will be sought from zoo associations as regards to best practice (BIAZA/EAZA) and from colleagues in other zoos. Foremost, our own judgements as to visitor behaviour and adherence to rules will be used to make decisions of movement between phases.
There will be a staff member at the Welcome Centre gates to ensure people have their tickets scanned on arrival, so that we do not exceed our restricted capacity.
All of the above document is all subject to change due to government guidelines. We will keep this document updated as and when further information becomes available.
We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Zoological Society of Hertfordshire, Paradise Wildlife Park