Knowsley Safari Park queries ‘Big Macs, but not big cats’ lockdown

Ostriches near a car at Knowsley Safari ParkImage copyright
Neil Theasby/Geograph

Image caption

Visitors have to remain in their car with the windows up while driving through the park

A safari park has questioned why changes to the Covid-19 lockdown have allowed drivers “to get a Big Mac, but not to see our big cats”.

Knowsley Safari, which has been closed since 23 March, said people would be safe to visit as it was similar to using a McDonald’s drive-thru.

A spokeswoman said being told to remain closed while the restaurants were allowed to reopen “doesn’t make sense”.

The government has been contacted for comment.

Marketing director Rachel Scott said the Merseyside park had readied itself for reopening by installing protective screens on kiosks and new signage throughout the site.

It had hoped the easing of restrictions announced on 28 May would have allowed it to reopen it safari drive this week.

“People don’t have to get out of their vehicles,” the spokeswoman said.

‘Critical to start soon’

She said the park had installed many safety measures, including putting protective screens at the entry kiosks and putting up coronavirus signage in the park and on the roads around it.

“It’s critical we’re able to start selling tickets again soon to help raise money, which will cover running and animal care costs,” she said.

The park needs £400,000 a month to run it.

She said reopening to driving customers would have been “safe and sensible… but sadly we have to remain closed until advised otherwise by the government”.

“We can’t understand why it’s now OK for people to go into shops or visit public spaces where there’s no enforced social distancing, but not stay in their vehicle on the safari drive.”

In a series of tweets, the park questioned the logic of the lockdown restrictions, asking the government why it cared “more about Starbucks than our blackbucks” and why it was safe to go shopping for an Ikea bookcase “but not come see our bison, buffalo and big cats?”

Knowsley Safari’s comments follow an announcement on Monday by Chester Zoo, which said its future remained “on a knife edge”, despite a government pledge to provide financial support as it struggled during lockdown.

BBC News

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