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Cincinnati Zoo won't require masks in some areas starting May 17

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Posted at 1:32 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 13:32:56-04

CINCINNATI — Starting Monday, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will lift mask requirements in outdoor areas where social distancing can be maintained, the Zoo announced Friday.

Guests over 6 years old will still be required to wear masks in all indoor areas, congested areas and during human-animal interactions, so visitors should still pack a mask.

When Ohio's coronavirus health orders end on June 2, the Zoo will only require masks in areas where people and animals are in close proximity.

“In light of recent CDC policy changes and Wednesday’s announcement that Ohio’s COVID-related health restrictions will end on June 2, we are relaxing our mask policy,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard in a release. “During the past year and half, the Cincinnati Zoo has gone above and beyond to protect guests, staff, and animals, and we will continue to follow guidelines from health officials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Also starting June 2, members will no longer need to make reservations to visit the Zoo. Non-members will still use the reservation system in place for non-members.

The Zoo's Education Center will remain closed to the general public for the summer, and kids ages 4 and up will wear masks.

“The Cincinnati Health Department has always appreciated the efforts of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden with not only meeting but exceeding the COVID-19 guidelines," said Antonio Young, R.S., Director, Environmental Health, Cincinnati Health Department. "The Zoo’s administration is once again demonstrating that they are a proactive and conscientious partner in keeping our citizens safe while at their venue by adhering to the most current guidance. It is this type of leadership that will sustain us through the pandemic as we move closer to normalcy."

Safety measures like hand sanitizing stations across the grounds, plexiglass between seats on the train and touchless entry will remain in place. Zoo officials encourage guests to wear masks in all areas if that makes them feel more comfortable.