Toronto Zoo vaccine policy includes outdoor spaces and people are already mad
Since the summer, various public entities and private businesses across Toronto have been rolling out their vaccine passport requirements, and another has just joined the pack.
Most of these mandates have applied to indoor settings like event venues, restaurants, and public transit, but a new vaccine policy announced by the Toronto Zoo this morning is raising eyebrows.
The policy requires that all guests 12 and older, as well as contractors and vendors, provide proof of vaccination to even make it in the front gates of the popular attraction.
And this doesn't just apply to the zoo's indoor attractions — the mandate covers the entire 2.87 square-kilometre zoo property, both indoors and out.
Taking effect on October 25, the new policy is a measure not just to protect zoo employees and guests from infection, but also many susceptible animals living at the zoo.
We are continuously reviewing our health and safety policies in order to provide a safe and healthy environment for our staff, guests, and animals.— The Toronto Zoo (@TheTorontoZoo) October 13, 2021
Starting Oct 25, 2021, we will implement a site-wide mandatory vaccine policy for all guests, members contractors, and vendors. pic.twitter.com/QwEJKxImVs
The U.S. Centres for Disease Control cites reports of many types of animals contracting the virus over the course of the pandemic. Accounts are not just limited to companion animals in proximity to humans, like pet cats, dogs and ferrets, but also the types of animals found in zoos, including big cats, otters and non-human primates.
Despite a pretty good rationale for the policy, the reaction among zoo fans has been mixed.
Some fully support the measure, like one Twitter user congratulating the zoo, saying, "This is fantastic news and not discrimination! You all have a choice to get the vaccine or not. Your choice can come with consequences! Good on the Zoo for standing up for what's right. My family will be getting a new membership!"
One supporter of the new vaccine policy called out Canada's Wonderland, requesting the Toronto-area theme park follow suit.
So happy to see this policy being announced and now I can't wait to visit the zoo! How about you @WonderlandNews ? How about making the safety of guests a priority and make the same announcement? We would LOVE to come back to the park, we are HUGE Wonderland fans!— Tonya Medeiros (@Tonyacpink) October 13, 2021
Others are less pleased with the news, the small yet vocal anti-vaccine mandate community clearly well represented among the zoo-going public.
As a loyal member for many years I find this extremely discriminatory. What a way to treat you loyal supporters.— Anthony Senzel (@Asenzel) October 13, 2021
It's more of the same rhetoric, with misinformed accusations of discrimination. It gets extra hilarious when these types cite "science" in their arguments.
I had a feeling this was coming when one of your volunteers had a go at me for not wearing a mask outdoors when some gorillas were about 30ft away from me.— Graham Carr-Rickwood (@AtreidesGray) October 13, 2021
This decision is not based on science, just politics.
I will miss your animals.
But it's even funnier when they use the portmanteau "sheeple" with their serious faces on.
So... This means immunocompromised people (like people with cancers and such) who CAN NOT get the "shot", aren't welcome at your Zoo anymore, got it. Thanks for that. Enjoy your sheeple.— Babs (@RealBabs3465) October 13, 2021
And no, the Toronto Zoo has no plans on barring the medically exempt. Their FAQ page clearly states that "those with medical exemptions will be able to enter our Zoo, but you must provide a valid medical document."
For those willing to provide their proof of vaccination, there's plenty of fun stuff to enjoy at the zoo this year, including a budget Toronto sign for goats to play on and a new orangutan baby on the way.
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