ZooLights to continue at Phoenix Zoo despite ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a popular holiday tradition will continue.

At the Phoenix Zoo, ZooLights will kick off on the night of Nov. 4 for members, and will be open to the general public on Nov. 7.

Zoo officials say there are extra precautions in place due to the coronavirus.

"We have to take lots of safety precautions that we didn't in the past to make sure everyone stays safe," said Linda Hardwick with the Phoenix Zoo.

Like the usual during the current pandemic, masks required in places where people cannot socially distance.  

"The great and exciting thing we have done with ZooLights is we have gone from about 60 to 90 nights, allowing us to space out the days so people have almost a full three months to enjoy ZooLights," said Hardwick.

Hardwick says the Zoo has also expanded its trail to allow for social distancing, giving families the options of either walking through or driving through.

"We will allow up to 500 cars per cruise night, which there are select, nearly 27 of our nearly 90 nights of zoo lights which are drive-thru only," said Hardwick.

The Zoo has been hurt financially, as it was completely closed in March 2020 due to the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and only reopened at the end of September. 

"We lost more than $6 million. We lost nearly half of our staff, so it has been stifling for what we have been doing here," said Hardwick.

Zoo officials are asking people to book ahead.