Popular tourist attraction Trentham Monkey Forest has confirmed it will be reopen to the public later this month.
The Staffordshire wildlife reserve – which is home to 140 free-ranging Barbary macaques primates – is welcoming back guests for the first time since March, having been forced to closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The short-term survival of zoos had been thrown into jeopardy by the pandemic, with the government initially reluctant to reopen the sector even with social distancing intact.
However, a recent u-turn has resulted in animal centres being given the green light to welcome back visitors.
Monkey Forest in Stoke-on-Trent has set 25 June as their reopening date – which gives staff time to make the venue “extra safe”.
A new ticket-buying service is being introduced, with passes only available to purchase in advance online.
Tickets will be allocated in slots, with guests being asked to arrive at a designated time.
Representatives say this will help to prevent overcrowding and ensure plenty of open space to easily follow the 2 metre distancing rules.
Monkey Forest Director Matt Lovatt commented: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome visitors back again after being closed since March.
“Despite the announcement that we could reopen from Monday 15 June, we want to make sure everything is set up and the park is extra safe for our visitors.
“The monkeys and the staff are certainly ready to get back to the ‘new normal’ and with the attraction being nearly all outdoors it’s the perfect place for people to visit”.
Mr. Lovatt added: “The safety of our guests, our team and the monkeys is at the forefront of what we do. We’ve always asked our guests to give the free-roaming monkeys a safety distance, now we’re asking them to do the same for each other! We ask that customers help us by reading our new rules before their visit.
“Hand sanitiser is provided on site, we simply ask visitors to keep to social distancing and visit at their allocated time.
“We feel these steps will ensure Monkey Forest is a safe place to visit. Everyone can enjoy a family day out and be confident they are following government guidance. The staff and monkeys really look forward to seeing our fantastic visitors!”
Monkey Forest will be open 10am until 5pm from Thursday 25 June onwards. Tickets can be purchased online tickets from next week.
Visit their website for more information.