KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Zoo Knoxville has enough financial support to make it through the end of June. That's good news for the zoo's owners, staff and fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to temporary closures across the state.
Zoo Knoxville is temporarily closed to visitors but still caring for animals. It's one of many businesses facing financial problems and lost revenue amid the pandemic.
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The zoo closed to visitors in mid-March. Since then, the zoo has laid off workers and cut salaries and overhead.
“Unlike may businesses that have to shut down, our expenses are still incurred. We still have 700 animals here. We still have 50 keepers here,” said Zoo Knoxville President and CEO Lisa New. “So those expenses are still happening, and I think that they recognize that.”
The zoo loses more than $22,000 every day that it is closed. More than 700 animals still need to be fed. Now funding, both public and private, is coming in.
“It's just been incredible, the support and the love that we've got. People truly treasure the zoo. It means a lot,” said New.
Knoxville City Council approved $700,000 dollars for the zoo. Knox County approved a $500,000 loan for the zoo. The Emergency Animal Relief Fund has raised more than $160,000 from people who love the zoo.
Zoo Knoxville has also applied for a small business loan and applied for the federal payroll protection program.
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