EDINBURGH Zoo has said keeper talks and its famous penguin parade will be postponed as it puts safety measures in place ahead of re-opening on Monday.

The measures are being put in place to ensure that large groups don’t form when the zoo re-opens.

New signage lines on the walkways of the zoo, which is managed by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), will encourage crowds to follow a new one-way system.

Perspex screens protect staff at the visitor entrance, where animal print face masks will be available.

Also available is a £5 “Go Safe Pack”, which includes a disposable face mask, a pack of tissues and a mini 60ml bottle of hand sanitiser.

There will be hand-washing stations around the zoo and extensive cleaning was carried out on Friday including at the meerkat, penguin and flamingo enclosures.

RZSS chief executive David Field said: “We are thrilled to begin welcoming visitors back to Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park from Monday June 29, with a wide range of safety measures in place to protect our visitors, our staff and our animals.

“Both our parks have large outdoor spaces and we are introducing social distancing, one-way routes, closing indoor areas, limiting visitor numbers and selling tickets online with time slots.

“Other measures include additional cleaning and hygiene precautions, postponing keeper talks and penguin parades to avoid crowds, only opening our cafes for takeaway services with card payments, and encouraging visitors to wear masks in line with government guidance.

“We are doing everything we can to make the zoo safe for everyone, which means it will feel a little different to normal.”

He added: “Covid-19 is a new form of coronavirus and we are finding out more about it every day.

“As always, there is a high standard of cleaning and hygiene when it comes to taking care of our animals and we are taking extra precautions against the potential transmission of the virus.

“This includes keeping any direct contact to a minimum, keeping a two-metre distance where possible and wearing masks around some of our animals, such as the primates, cats and bears.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last Thursday that outdoor businesses such as zoos and garden attractions can re-open from Monday.

She advised people “should not travel more than around five miles to visit them” and “where these places are ticketed, tickets should be bought in advance”.

Field said: “We know many people have been counting the days until they can enjoy our large outdoor spaces and say hello to the animals they love, and we look forward to seeing them soon.

“While we are all really excited to be welcoming visitors back, this is still a very difficult time for our charity because we had to borrow millions of pounds due to the loss of our visitor income.

“We would like to thank everyone for their amazing support so far and for helping us re-open.”