Prospect Park Zoo to reopen as New York City enters Phase Four

prospect park zoo
The Prospect Park Zoo is home to some 400 animals – from Red Pandas to Pallas’s Cats
File photo by Elizabeth Graham

New York City moved into Phase Four of its reopening on Monday, allowing film production to resume and outdoor entertainment venues to open their doors. 

Among the Brooklyn institutions allowed to reopen are the Prospect Park Zoo and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which will open to the public on July 24 and Aug. 7 respectively. 

Zoo visitors must wear face masks and stay six feet apart from each other while browsing the outdoor exhibits, according to the zoo’s website. Visitors must also purchase tickets in advance.

Phase Four also allows professional sports to resume in New York City, but without any spectators in attendance. That’s just in time for the start of an abbreviated 2020 Major League Baseball season this week, with the Yankees and Mets beginning play on July 23–July 24. The US Open will also be held as scheduled from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 without attendance. 

However, other businesses eligible to reopen under the state’s Phase Four reopening criteria will remain closed indefinitely in New York City, such as malls, movie theaters and indoor museums.

Here’s what you can expect from businesses and institutions reopening during Phase Four:

Film production

Movies, along with television and streaming programs, may once again be produced on indoor and outdoor sets across New York City. State guidelines mandate that no production have more than 50-percent of the maximum capacity on indoor sets at one time.

For each production, only the essential cast and crew should be on set; there will be a limited number of background actors available on site. Producers are also forbidden from hosting open calls for roles, and must schedule appointments with their artists.

At all times, production crews must practice social distancing and proper hygiene protocols to keep crew and cast separated from each other and help avoid infection.

Outdoor entertainment

Phase Four permits the reopening of what the state describes as “low-risk outdoor arts and entertainment.” This includes places such as botanical gardens, zoos, nature parks, historic sites and outdoor museums.

Businesses must restrict the number of patrons and staff to 33-percent of the facility’s maximum capacity. Indoor areas should be open on a limited basis only for guests to make payments or use the restroom. 

Group tours are forbidden except for members of the same family or household. Any high-risk and/or interactive exhibits will remain closed, as will children’s recreational areas.

Guests will need to reserve specified visit times and should be encouraged to pay in advance or use a touch-less payment system at the facility. No paper maps or articles will be provided; each institution is advised to make digital maps available for download.

The bigger picture: schools

Phase Four is the last of the phases under the state’s Forward New York reopening program. It’s also essential in allowing schools to reopen in September.

Higher education facilities are also included in the state’s Phase Four reopening plan, but these facilities have not yet reopened their campuses in New York City as of Monday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that schools would be permitted to reopen in any region that’s in Phase Four and has an overall infection rate of 5-percent or less. After Aug. 1, schools will be closed in any region where the infection rate is 9% or higher.

Mayor Bill de Blasio previously announced that New York City public schools would likely adopt a “blended model” for the 2020-21 school year beginning in September, meaning students would attend classes at their schools on a part-time basis — no more than three days a week — with remote learning at home filling the gaps.

This article first appeared on AMNY.com.