1. Visitors wait in zoo's socially-distant entry line
2. "Keep the length of a lion" social distance sign
3. Woman holds up child to better see exhibit
4. Mandrill mother and baby
5. One way walking sign
6. Mother and daughters wearing masks watch giraffes
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Tim Wu, Vice President of Philanthropy, San Francisco Zoo:
"We are thrilled to be open today. As we're talking right now, I'm seeing people coming into the zoo. They are smiling. They've missed us for four months. We have huge, huge interest. We're only doing online ticketing now to be safe. Every zoo is different. We are lucky because we have one hundred acres. We're almost entirely outdoors. So we think of ourselves as an outdoor museum and gardens. It costs the zoo thirty thousand dollars a day to operate. So we have huge expenses, whether we have visitors here or not. We need the income to come in from revenue. We get 70 percent of our income from gate revenue. You'll see some of the animals much closer than they would have been otherwise. They're curious. They want to know what's going on. So they're as excited as we are about opening again.
"We're really happy because we've been members for a long time and our daughter just turned three. So it's really hard to find something to do with her. I think they're doing a great job so far. It seems like they've closed off high touch sections and indoor areas. We're just happy to be back here."
Paws, claws, feathers and feet flocked to the San Francisco Zoo on Monday as it reopened to the public after being closed for nearly four months due to the coronavirus.
Originally the zoo was set to reopen June 29 but that was delayed two weeks due to a local spike in COVID-19 cases.
Zoo officials spent weeks petitioning local and state officials to have the one hundred-acre open-air facility declared an outdoor park, rather than an indoor museum, which allowed it to reopen sooner.
The zoo's indoor exhibits, playground and rides must remain closed for now.
Zoo staff developed new safety protocols for visitors, including ticketing by timed reservation to limit the number of people in the park at a time and one-way paths throughout the zoo to promote social distancing.
Zoo biologists say the animals were provided with daily stimulation to keep them happy and healthy during the shutdown.
But they said many of the animals seemed especially active Monday as the animals saw visitors in the zoo for the first time in months.
Zoo officials say it costs about thirty thousand dollars a day to keep the animals fed and the zoo running, with or without paying guests, so reopening was important for the zoo's financial future.
Some other US zoos and aquariums, including the Oakland Zoo across the bay from San Francisco, have announced that they may have to close permanently due to financial losses during the pandemic.
The San Francisco Zoo opening comes as California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday extended the closure of bars and indoor dining statewide and has ordered gyms, churches and hair salons closed in most places as coronavirus cases keep rising statewide.
California confirmed 8,358 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. Hospitalizations have increased 28% over the past two weeks.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.