Racine Zoo's Statement on Masks

Racine Zoo’s Statement on Masks

We are currently requiring masks throughout the Zoo for the safety of our guests, our staff, and our animals. From current understanding, 6-20% of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, and symptoms do not typically appear until anywhere from 4-14 days after infection, even though someone can be actively shedding the virus into the air. Even if we all stayed perfectly six feet apart - which we know isn’t always the case - coughing and sneezing sends the virus out much further than 6 feet, and one cough creates over 3,000 droplets. Even talking puts droplets into the air, and the virus can then survive in the air or on surfaces for hours. Masks contain all of these droplets from spreading out and infecting surfaces and others. The CDC has recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission, and we are following this recommendation. We also have animals at our zoo that are either potentially susceptible or - in the case of our big cats, bats, and ferrets, confirmed to be susceptible. Masks are a step that can help protect not just staff and other guests, but our animals as well. We are familiar with “no shirt, no shoes, no service” – now it is “no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.” For your convenience, disposable masks will be available for purchase at the Zoo gift shop for $1. Washable masks will also be available to purchase.


Those with additional questions or wishing to discuss this policy are welcome to contact Aszya Summers, Curator of Animal Care and Conservation Education, at asummers@racinezoo.org or 262-635-7959.


How does the virus spread? How do masks work?
A great article with sources and a information on how the virus spreads and how masks work: Click Here


“One unpublished study by scientists at Arizona State University found that if 80% of people wore only moderately effective masks, it could reduce the number of deaths in New York by 17-45% over a two month period. Even wearing masks that were just 20% effective could cut mortality by 24-65% in Washington and 2-9% in New York, if enough people wore them.


While face masks might bring a little discomfort, and make it harder to spot the facial expressions of those we are talking to, those things are a small price to pay for keeping the people around us safe and well.”


Statement from the CDC Regarding Masks: 
CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.