San Francisco Zoo postpones reopening due resurgent virus

Entrance to the San Francisco Zoo in the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, California, with sign reading 'Welcome to the San Francisco Zoo,' January 31, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

The San Francisco Zoo and Gardens is postponing plans for reopening, pushing back a previously planned Monday opening, after the San Francisco Department of Public Health on Friday rescinded approval of "extended phase II" reopening in response to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"Unfortunately, the Zoo appears to be categorized with indoor establishments despite being a primarily outdoor space adjacent to a coastline," according to a statement from the zoo that says the zoo is trying to operate more as an "outdoor museum," and would be allowed to reopen.

Zoo officials said that, prior to the city's shelter in place order, all animal talks or shows were cancelled, indoor spaces were closed, and certain zoo staff members were asked to wear face coverings.

With outdoor signs that both educated and informed our visitors, the Zoo began to operate as an outdoor museum.

Despite these accommodations, the zoo has consistently been denied inclusion in the "outdoor museums" or "parks" categories, the zoo's statement said, even though the facility is an accredited botanical garden.

It is uncertain when the zoo will reopen, and that date will depend on further relaxation of the county health order.