To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what financial support his Department plans to provide to zoological institutions which have been affected by the covid-19 outbreak to ensure that they can continue their conservation and animal welfare work.
I refer the hon. Member to the replies given to my hon. Friend, the Member for North Devon, Selaine Saxby, on 27 April 2020, PQ UIN 37936, the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife, Douglas Chapman, on 11 May 2020, PQ UIN 43675 and the hon. Member for York Central, Rachael Maskell on 19 May 2020, PQ UIN 45322.
The Zoos Support Fund is open for applications until 19 July 2020.
As announced by the Prime Minister on 10 June, outdoor areas of zoos and safari parks will be allowed to reopen from 15 June, subject to appropriate social distancing measures being in place. This includes keeping indoor exhibitions, such as reptile houses and those in aquariums, closed, and ensuring other amenities like cafes offer take-away services only.
The move follows close work by the Government with the zoo industry to ensure visitor numbers can be managed and safeguards are put in place.
The decision to relax restrictions on these select outdoor attractions is part of the Government’s careful approach to easing the lockdown in phases, guided by the advice of scientific and medical experts and the fact the risk of transmission is much lower outdoors.
Officials continue to meet weekly with BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and with the CEOs of the largest charitable zoos and aquariums in England providing a valuable forum to monitor concerns and seek insights from key sector representatives on current issues.