News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
December 9, 2020                                                
Statement from the Chicago Zoological Society

            Brookfield, Ill. –  The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to place unanticipated and urgent pressures on many businesses, including nonprofit cultural institutions such as the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo. As a result of these continued challenges, CZS was forced to make the difficult decision to temporarily close to the public in January and February 2021, and to place 40 staff on lay-off/furlough status, effective January 1, 2021. The plan is to recall all laid-off/furloughed workers on or before March 1.
                The lay-off/furloughed include staff who are not considered critically essential to support the minimum operations of the organization during the zoo’s two-month closure, while keeping staff employed who ensure the health and welfare of the zoo’s animal population, maintenance and protection of the buildings and grounds, and other critical operations. We value the commitment and hard work of every one of our talented employees. However, like so many other employers across the nation who depend on customers, these difficult decisions were necessary. We continue to assure the continued care and welfare of the animals in our care, as well as the safety of our guests, staff, volunteers, and members.


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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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