Health & Safety Update
Coronavirus Update from ZooTampa
ZooTampa Temporarily Closed
During this unprecedented and uncertain time, ZooTampa wants to assure the public that we are taking necessary steps to help our community stay safe, and to provide the highest quality of care for our more than 1,100 animals living at the zoo. On March 16, we temporarily closed to visitors, retained all full and part time staff on payroll and began the implementation of a series of thoughtful cost-saving measures to help ensure the zoo’s financial health through this crisis. The well-being of our community and staff and the care of our animals remain our top priorities.
As a nonprofit institution that is 93% self-funded and depends on admissions and visitors to support operations, the temporary closure will significantly impact the zoo’s on-going operating budget. Facing these challenges and being fiscally responsible, the zoo is implementing an additional level of cost-saving measures on March 30, 2020. ZooTampa will retain necessary staffing levels to carry on with limited operations. Adjustments include: eliminating all hours for seasonal staff, furlough of part-time and full-time staff who are not part of our limited operations, and implementing a temporary salary reduction across top level leaders. Furloughed employees will retain medical, dental, life, supplemental and critical illness insurance benefits, and will have their premiums fully paid for by ZooTampa. Furloughed employees will also qualify to receive financial assistance and enhanced unemployment benefits from the current government stimulus package.
“We are doing everything possible to safely reopen at the earliest opportunity and are hopeful that our limited operations will take place for a short period. We recognize the importance of every single member of our team and it’s the reason we opted for a furlough which pauses employment instead of the elimination of positions. We plan on welcoming all furloughed employees back into their regular roles as soon as it’s reasonably possible to start welcoming visitors again” stated President and CEO Joe Couceiro.
We believe these measures will help keep the zoo financially stable during what we hope is a shortterm closure. Until the zoo reopens, our team will continue to prioritize spending, work with our generous donors, monitor government business relief programs and grants, and will evaluate our plans every two weeks or sooner if conditions warrant.
The ZooTampa animal care, veterinary and operations teams are working hard every day to ensure the welfare of each animal at the zoo and continuing augmented safety protocols to provide a healthy work environment. We also continue our mission-driven work, including advocating for wildlife conservation in Florida and around the world. We look forward to welcoming everyone again to ZooTampa where families come to escape from daily life, enjoy our wide-open spaces and connect with nature and wildlife.
We truly appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this time. Our thoughts go out to all who have been affected by the COVID-19/coronavirus situation.