Legislature to consider $6M request to assist Minnesota Zoo in midst of COVID-19

A legislature proposal of $6 million to help the Minnesota Zoo during the COVID-19 pandemic is under discussion.

According to a zoo spokesperson, the zoo is projected to lose roughly $15 million during a two-year period. The proposed $6 million from the state legislature would replace roughly 40% of that projected loss, the spokesperson said.

As a state agency, the zoo receives about one-third of its budget from state appropriations while two-thirds of the budget comes from contributions and earned revenue, the spokesperson stated.

Measures such as staff reductions, canceling and delaying major projects and freezes on hiring and spending have already been implemented.

"We need some help for the Minnesota Zoo. They’re at the point where they’re going to have to move animals and close if we don’t do something on that,” Gov. Tim Walz said during a news conference Tuesday. “I think that’s a treasure for Minnesota, I think it makes sense to keep that, and we’re going to need a little help this session."

A phased plan for reopening is currently underway, according to the zoo spokesperson.

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