To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to classify keepers of animals in zoos and conservation centres as key workers so that they can continue to care for animals in the event that their site is closed during the covid-19 outbreak.
We value the very important work undertaken by zoos in ensuring that the health and welfare needs of the diverse range of animals they care for are well met. Zoos support much appreciated conservation and educational activities which are highly valued by society.
The Government has published guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others which clarifies that zoos are not on the list of businesses and venues that have been ordered to close. This guidance also confirms that people may travel for work purposes where they cannot work from home. Those caring for zoo animals are unable to do so from home.
The Government has published guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision which indicates which workers may secure places in schools and nurseries to enable them to continue to work. This includes those essential to the running of charities and workers delivering key frontline services.