OAKLAND — The Oakland Zoo, facing financial turmoil and losing $2 million a month since shutting down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, can resume outdoor activities after receiving permission from the state, Alameda County health officials said.
The state gave permission Wednesday that will enable the zoo to reopen and also allow outdoor dining within the county, as long as face masks are worn at all times.
The news couldn’t come fast enough for the zoo. Oakland Zoo president Joel Parrott and executive vice president Nik Dehejia petitioned the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on July 2 to allow the zoo to re-open as an “outdoor museum,” and said the zoo might not survive if it was not allowed to operate soon.
Calls to zoo officials Wednesday were not returned immediately.
The zoo has been closed since the first shelter-in-place orders took effect on March 17. The zoo started a behind-the-scenes live-streaming video series in April that generated some money, but not enough to fully support the zoo.
Spokesman Isabella Linares told this news organization earlier this month that the zoo was using its operating reserve because of the monthly losses and that the reserve was $3.1 million as July started.
The permission to open outdoor activities comes on the county’s third day on the state’s County Monitoring List, which means there are still restrictions. Places of worship can hold only outdoor services, and indoor malls are required to remain closed.
The county has recorded 154 deaths and confirmed 8,478 positive cases of the coronavirus through Tuesday.
Check back for updates.