ENTEBBE – Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Centre (UWEC) also known as Entebbe Zoo has re-opened for business today, Saturday August 8, after rolling out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that will protect visitors and workers from Covid-19.
The Conservation Education Centre was shut about five months ago when the lockdown was instituted in the country, something that never happened in its history.
Speaking at UWEC on Friday, August 7, Tourism Minister Col Tom Butime while unveiling the standard operating procedures (SoPs) for Uganda’s tourism sector urged visitors to the centre and other touristic hotspots in the country to adhere to health ministry guidelines in the fight against covid-19.
“After five months, we are excited to welcome you back and by working together, to stay safe and healthy, we can remain open,” Col Tom Butime said.
“We kindly request you to adhere to social distancing rules and other Covid-19 preventive measures,” he added.
In a separate interview with Africa Tembelea, UWEC Executive Director Dr. James Musinguzi said that the Centre had used the lockdown period to improve its services. Among the areas that had been improved were the buffalo and giraffe holding facilities, as well as the elephant’s habitat that has been re-equipped to ensure their welfare. According to Dr. Musinguzi, the conservation education Centre will also host an exhibit for tigers.
He also revealed that a monument in memory of Zakayo, UWEC’s iconic chimpanzee had been unveiled post lock down as well as installation of a surveillance camera system to help monitor animals and visitors. This he said will be bolstered by a radio calling system.
– Standard Operating Procedures –
The new measures in place include mandatory sanitization prior to entry and while in the Centre.
“60%-alcoholic content sanitizers have been acquired and will be placed in all places people visit,” said Dr. Musinguzi.
According to Dr. Musinguzi, the Centre has also acquired protective materials (face masks, face shields, gloves, biohazard bags, coveralls) for UWEC workers and others that will be sold to visitors.
Relatedly, temperature guns, disinfecting wipes have been placed at all entry points, while frequently touched areas will be disinfected every after two hours.
The UWEC Executive Director revealed that visitors will also be required to undergo footbaths, just like vehicles will be disinfected with bleach, and the waste dumped in a designated area.
To ensure social distancing, demarcations have been made with ropes and paint.
Africa Tembelea understands UWEC is working in liaison with Entebbe Grade B Hospital in case of any COVID-19 related emergencies.
With the facility operating at 15%, with only 100 people allowed inside at one go, pre-booking and cashless methods of payment are being encouraged for now.