Knowsley Safari is calling on the Government to show common sense and criticises contradictions of the second lockdown.
The Merseyside-based Safari says it should not be forced to close from 5th November as people are still permitted to use drive-through restaurants and visit outdoor public places including parks, beaches and public gardens.
Edward Perry, Managing Director of Knowsley Safari, said: “Here we are again asking why is it ok for people to jump in their car to buy a Big Mac, but not to come and see our big cats? Getting in a car to drive around the Safari can be easily done in line with lockdown guidelines and with less staff interactions than at a drive-through fast food restaurant.”
Visitors to Knowsley Safari can book and pay online ahead of their visit, meaning they don’t have to hand any cash or payment cards to staff at the entry kiosks.
The Safari also highlights the contradictions of the national lockdown restrictions that allow people from the same household or support bubble to visit certain outdoor public places. Edward Perry says that it makes no sense that it’s ok to go to a beach, park or public garden, but not to use Knowsley’s Foot Safari – part of the Safari where visitors can walk around to see Amur Tigers, wolves, giraffes and meerkats.
Edward Perry continues: “The Foot Safari is a large outdoor space and already has social distancing and sanitising measures in place and staff on hand to help ensure COVID guidelines are being followed. The Government has completely disregarded this and found it easier to simply close us. This is a short-sighted move that needlessly puts the future of the Safari at risk, along with jobs and the support we provide to wildlife conservation and sustainability projects.
“We cannot furlough expert staff who are needed to feed and look after the animals. The reality is that we face hundreds of thousands of pounds in running costs during a Lockdown when we won’t be receiving any income from ticket sales.
“We were just about recovering from being shut for almost four months during the first lockdown and operating at a reduced capacity during the peak summer months. We’re urging the Government to show common sense and to allow us to remain open. As well as protecting the Safari and jobs, being open is also good for people’s mental wellbeing. We can provide the public with a COVID-compliant day out, which creates joy and happiness from seeing the animals. Surely this is better for people’s lockdown fatigue than filling-up on fast food.”