While most zoos and aquariums are currently closed to the public, personnel shortages may have made it necessary for staff members to take on new duties. Given the increased stress of this pandemic and shifting responsibilities, staff may be less familiar with the safety and response protocols for the areas they are currently working in. Further, due to the widespread impacts of COVID-19, organizations and vendors that would typicall assist during a response may have limited capacity to do so.
To ensure that your facility remains prepared for any disasters that may occur, we recommend considering the following:
- Review emergency plans with all staff and identify any possible gaps due to staffing changes
- Adjust plans to reflect current capabilities and clearly communicate all changes to staff and volunteers
- Communicate any reelchanges in access or response protocols to emergency responders
- Make sure all staff members working with dangerous animals are comfortable with and able to implement safety protocols
- Reach out to any MOU holders, vendors, and other response partners to determine what their capabilities are during this prolonged event
- Regularly review and revise plans and protocols as operations change during the ongoing response to COVID-19
See the Contingency Planning Modules and Workbook for additional information on the planning process for zoological facilities.