The Minnesota Zoo will require all guests age 3 and up to wear a face covering while visiting indoor exhibits.
The new safety policy, announced by the Apple Valley zoo Thursday afternoon, will go into effect Saturday, Aug. 7. On indoor trails and in zoo buildings, everyone 3 years old and up will have to wear a face covering, whether they've been vaccinated or not.
On outdoor trails, the use of a face mask is still optional.
The decision was made for " the safety of our guests and animals" and follows recent federal guidance concerning face mask usage.
The zoo has made other COVID-related modifications as well, to prevent the spread of COVID from human to human, or even human to zoo animal, including:
- Rearranged seating in restaurant areas to allow for better distancing
- "Streamlined" menus and amenities to allow for better safety precautions
- Changes to "high touch interactive exhibits," including in some cases their removal altogether
- Extra barriers at some animal habitats "to ensure they can maintain a safe distance from guests"
- No more feeding or touching of live animals
- A temporary end to live programming or demonstrations
- No animal viewing in small structures, such as the pig and goat barns