Zoo World tackles COVID-19 revenue challenges

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The pandemic has affected several types of businesses throughout our area, many of them having to close their doors indefinitely until allowed to reopen.

However, some facilities like Zoo World had to stay operational during that time to care for the animals, and without revenue, they said it’s been challenging.

For Zoo World director, Kayte Hogan, this week is a big one.

“Having guests in the park again, having some revenue come in, just so we know we’re going to be okay, that is just a breath of fresh air,” she said.

Zoo World is now open again to the public at 25 percent capacity after weeks of closing their doors. During that time, they had no revenue while still paying the costs of operation.

“Unfortunately in a zoological situation, we really have to have everything the way that it is now just without the revenue,” said Hogan.

As an independent operation, their revenue comes directly from visitors and Hogan said that without guests, successful budgeting has allowed them to keep up with operations and keep all their staff, even improving some of the habitat areas.

But, even with doors reopen, she said they’re not out of the woods just yet.

“Now, we maybe have six or seven families in the park a day,” said Hogan. “It’s significantly less amount of people, so significantly less revenue than we’re used to seeing.”

She said that without a steady flow of tourism, there are difficult days ahead.

“We will find ways to feed the animals, we will find ways to pay our staff but it’s going to be very, very difficult,” said Hogan.

Zoo World is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m..

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