Rosamond Gifford Zoo to Reopen Saturday With Restrictions
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse will be reopen Saturday, just in time for the sunny Memorial Day weekend, but there will be restrictions in place to protect the health and safety of visitors.
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon talked about the zoo's plan to reopen during a press briefing Wednesday, noting a number of changes for the time being. The zoo will only sell 500 tickets each day, with admission in 30-minute increments and ticket sales primarily conducted online, although McMahon assured that they "certainly will accommodations for those that are unable to purchase online."
Visitor traffic will flow in one direction, following new painted arrows on the ground, and all guests will be temperature-checked before entering and will be required to wear masks throughout their visit. McMahon also said that while food service and drinking fountains will not be available, there will be two stations to fill water bottles. Zoo staff will also monitor throughout the zoo to ensure guests are following social distancing guidelines.
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo will reopen Saturday, May 23 at 10 a.m. and reservations will launch on the county's website Friday at 9 a.m.
McMahon also shared details about the phased reopening plans for Oneida Shores Beach and libraries within Onondaga County.
Oneida Shores will open under limited capacity for the holiday weekend and beyond, starting Saturday, May 23. Then, the beach will be open Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a capacity of 150 people. McMahon said it admission will cost $7 per car and there will be wristbands and staff monitoring for social distancing. The deep section of the water will also be closed to limit the number of staff on-site.
"I had some individuals reach out to me, saying 'You should have opened Jamesville up; it's easier to swim and do laps,'" MchMahon said. "Unfortunately, at this point, this isn't about really the exercise element of swimming. It's about giving people the opportunity to get outdoors and spend a little time and maybe wade in the water on a hot day."
As for libraries within Onondaga County, McMahon said while some, such as the Onondaga County and City of Syracuse libraries, will begin reopening May 26, not all locations in the county are ready to open at the same time. Only some suburban libraries, such as the Baldwinsville library, are able to begin reopening on May 26. These libraries will begin with take-out service, utilizing reservations via their websites or phones. Photo ID, masks and social distancing will be required while picking up items.
"We ask that anyone participating in this wear a mask, practice physical distancing at all times, and be patient with us through this process because this is new for all of us," McMahon said.