The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) has announced new standard operating procedures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 as it moves to reopen to visitors.
UWEC managing director James Musinguzi says visitors to the centre will be required to undergo temperature tests after which they will be required to sanitize at different hand washing facilities all through the centre.
Visitors will also not be allowed to interact with wildlife especially animals and will only be allowed on condition that they make cashless payments.
Mr Musinguzi said the proposals have been sent to the ministry of health for approval before the centre can re-open to the public. The centre was closed on March 27, following an outbreak of COVID-19. However, the closure resulted in a budget shortfall of 1.5 billion Shillings for the last quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year. Musinguzi said that the centre has been able to take care of over 600 animal and bird species even amidst the shortfall.
UWEC used to receive an average of 400,000 visitors every year especially foreigners and school-going children. However, Mr Musinguzi said the number could reduce by end of this year due to global travel restrictions and closure of several airports.
He made the remarks at the unveiling of a monument in memory of Zakayo, Uganda’s oldest Chimpanzee who died in November 2018 at UWEC.
Mr Tom Butime, the Minister for Tourism, who unveiled the monument, said that he has set up a task force to brainstorm on how the tourism sector can be revived after being affected by covid-19.