Guests will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to visit Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo will now require all visitors ages 12 and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend the popular tourist attraction.

The new policy, which was announced on Wednesday, will require guests, members, business partners, and contractors to show proof of vaccination before entering.

In a news release, the zoo said while the facility does include many outdoor spaces for people to enjoy, there are also indoor spaces that will be visited more frequently by guests as the colder weather approaches.

The zoo went on to say that it must take all precautions in order to protect other guests, staff, and the animals that are vulnerable to COVID-19.

“Our decision to implement this policy is based on many factors, including our responsibility to ensure the safety and protection of our staff, our guests and our animals. As a science-based institution, we fully support the evidence that vaccination protects individuals from serious illness and COVID-19 spread,” Dolf DeJong, the CEO of theToronto Zoo, said in a written statement.

“It is also important to understand that some of our animals are susceptible to COVID-19 illness, including gorillas, orangutans, tigers and lions, to name a few. We will use every tool at our disposal to protect our animals and in particular, endangered species from developing illness due to COVID-19.”

The policy comes into effect on Oct. 25.

As of Sept. 22, many businesses in Ontario, including restaurants, gyms, and movie theatres, are now required to ensure patrons are fully vaccinated before they are permitted entry.

The provincial government’s policy does not apply to essential businesses, including grocery stores, pharmacies, and retail stores. Proof of vaccination is also not required for patio dining or at certain outdoor venues, although many businesses and organizations have implemented their own vaccination policies above and beyond the province’s mandate.