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COVID-19 rules changing at popular outdoor activities

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COVID-19 rules changing at popular outdoor activities (KUTV)

Whether you have plans at the zoo, a theme park, or any outdoor activity, COVID-19 precautions are changing fast in Utah.

Friday, Utah’s Hogle Zoo announced that masks will no longer be required when outside, in most cases. Masks are still required while waiting in line, on rides, during animal encounters, and anywhere indoors, like in the gift shop, reptile house, or bathrooms. The zoo also recommended wearing masks when gathering around windows and exhibits.

"We hope if you come to the zoo, you're doing it under the knowledge that yes, there are times I'll have to put my mask on. Be respectful of your fellow man. And then again if it's not the right choice for your family at this time, we hope to see you at the zoo, maybe this fall,” said Erica Hansen with Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

With mask requirements varying through the zoo, enforcement may be tricky.

This has been an issue that has been very explosive on both sides, of to wear a mask, or to not wear a mask at the zoo. We've had people screaming at our security guards and in fights and different things,” she said.

Hansen said staff will gently remind people when masks are required, but said if you're coming to the zoo, you're agreeing to their rules.

Zoo staff will still be required to wear masks, and reservations are also still required, though the zoo hopes to further raise capacity as the summer unfolds. The playground and splash pad are still closed for now, but Hansen said they should be open soon.

The zoo's seated, indoor dining, The Bistro, is still closed, but not because of COVID. The zoo doesn't have enough staff to open it. They are looking for seasonal staff throughout the zoo.

If you plan on heading to Thanksgiving Point this summer, keep an eye out for changing policies. Right now, they are operating at about one-third capacity and are requiring masks indoors and outdoors. That will remain the policy through May, then will be reevaluated.

"We anticipate being able to have large gatherings without masks in the very near future,” said Josh Berndt, the director of communications at Thanksgiving Point.

Tracy Aviary is another popular outdoor destination. The biggest change is that while masks are required for entry, now you can take them off when you can socially distance from other groups. Capacity at the aviary will remain limited.

Another big change is that bird shows are finally back. Shows will be socially distanced. Right now, they are only on weekends, but more will open after Memorial Day.

At Lagoon, mask policies have changed for the amusement park. Masks are no longer required, but are recommended in places where social distancing is not possible.

All the outdoor destinations said things can always change, so be sure to check their websites for the latest rules and policies.

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