Henry Vilas Zoo says it will reopen no later than July 1

Henry Vilas Zoo (Source: Henry Vilas Zoo)
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Henry Vilas Zoo says it hopes to be back open to the public no later than July 1.

In a social media post on Saturday, the Madison zoo laid out the steps it is taking in order to comply with "Forward Dane," Dane County's plan to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We cannot wait to reopen our doors to the public, and are doing everything we can to prepare a safe and fun experience for our guests, staff, and animals," according to Vilas Zoo.

"Our priority for reopening is to ensure that we have met all necessary safety measures," the zoo added.

According to the guidelines in "Forward Dane," Vilas Zoo can reopen at 25 percent capacity in Phase 1, but only as long as visitors can maintain social distancing.

Phase 1 starts Tuesday, May 26,, which also allows restaurants, gyms and most other retail establishments to start to reopen.

Vilas Zoo says that in order to comply with social distancing, it is working on a number of changes guests will notice at the zoo. Vilas Zoo outlined some of those in its social media post Saturday:

  • Only allowing a one-way path through the grounds/li>
  • Closing all the indoor buildings except restrooms
  • Increasing zoo's ability to disinfect common areas
  • Protecting animals susceptible to this illness
  • Only having the entrance on Randall Avenue open

Vilas' goal is to reopen no later than July 1, "hopefully sooner assuming infection rates continue to decline."

"We appreciate your support and patience during this time. We will post an announcement on all our social media pages and on our website once we have a confirmed reopen date," according to the zoo.

Vilas Zoo is managed by Dane County, which also issued the "Forward Dane" reopening plan in collaboration with the City of Madison.