Masks Not Required in Most Outdoor Areas Starting May 17

Posted May 14, 2021

Starting June 2, Masks will ONLY be required in human-animal contact areas

mask policy signCINCINNATI (May 14, 2021) – Starting Monday, May 17, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will lift mask requirements in outdoor areas where standard social distancing can be maintained.  Guests ages 6 years and up will still be required to wear face coverings* in all indoor areas, congested areas, and during human-animal interactions. Visitors should pack a mask so they can participate in activities and enter buildings that require them.   On June 2, the Zoo will follow the State’s lead and will only require masks in areas where humans and animals are in close proximity.

Photos | Video

“In light of recent CDC policy changes and Wednesday’s announcement that Ohio’s COVID-related health restrictions will end on June 2, we are relaxing our mask policy,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard.  “During the past year and half, the Cincinnati Zoo has gone above and beyond to protect guests, staff, and animals, and we will continue to follow guidelines from health officials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

“The Cincinnati Health Department has always appreciated the efforts of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden with not only meeting but exceeding the COVID-19 guidelines. The Zoo’s administration is once again demonstrating that they are a proactive and conscientious partner in keeping our citizens safe while at their venue by adhering to the most current guidance. It is this type of leadership that will sustain us through the pandemic as we move closer to normalcy,” said Antonio Young, R.S., Director, Environmental Health, Cincinnati Health Department.

The first phase of the Zoo’s mask policy change will be similar to what it had in place last summer when it reopened after being closed for three months. The second phase, which begins on June 2, drops mask requirements in all areas except giraffe feedings and other close animal encounters. Safety measures such as hand sanitizing stations across Zoo grounds, plexiglass between seats on the train, and touchless entry will remain in place, and guests are encouraged to wear masks in all areas if that makes them feel more comfortable.

Starting June 2, members will no longer need to make reservations to visit the Zoo. Capacity will still be controlled by keeping the reservation system in place for non-members.

The Education Center will remain closed to the general public for the summer. Kids ages 4 and up wear masks.

Zoo Babies, presented by Dawn, runs now through May 31!  Remember to make a reservation and pack a mask! The event is FREE with regular Zoo admission. The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.  Cincinnati Zoo members enjoy early entry at 9 a.m.

*Masks must follow these CDC specifications:

  • fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • completely covers the nose and mouth
  • is secured with ties or ear loops
  • includes multiple layers of fabric
  • allows for breathing without restriction