Coronavirus Impact: Oakland Zoo at risk of closing permanently unless it's allowed to reopen, CEO says

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The Oakland Zoo is in danger of permanently shutting down unless it is allowed to reopen, according to Dr. Joel Parrot, the president and CEO of the Oakland Zoo.

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It's been losing $2 million a month since March, when the coronavirus outbreak forced it to close.

"We have an urgent situation, this can't go on," Parrott said. "The important thing, right now, is to get permission from the state and Alameda County Health Department to allow the zoo to open."

The zoo wants to be classified as an outdoor museum, similar to regional parks and botanical gardens. They've been allowed to reopen.

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"We've established that we can open safely and not be a source of transmission of COVID," Parrott said. "We can't continue to go on with no revenue and still stay in business."

The proposal would allow admission to the zoo by reservation only. Visitors would be capped at 2,500.

Masks and social distancing would also be required. Zoo rides, restaurants and indoor exhibits would stay closed.

"We have about $3.2 million in operating reserves, and burn about a million dollars of expenses per month, so that gives you an idea that we have about three months before we run out of money," Parrott said.

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