PLANS to allow zoos and safari parks to reopen from Monday have raised hopes that Marwell could soon be welcoming its first visitors in months.

Boris Johnson is due to host today's Downing Street briefing and is expected to outline the latest moves to ease the lockdown.

He announce that outdoor attractions can reopen as long as they follow social distancing rules.

The move will pave the way for zoos to reopen in England alongside non-essential shops, which can also open from 15 June.

No date for the reopening of Marwell Zoo has yet been announced.

A statement on its website, written before news of today's announcement, says: "Following Government guidelines regarding coronavirus, we remain closed until further notice.

"The latest legislation amendment lists zoos in Stage 3 of the UK’s Covid-19 recovery strategy and we are therefore unable to open before early July.

"The next government review point, however, will take place on 18 June, so when we hear more, we’ll let you know.

"Planning is well underway to ensure when the national guidelines allow, we will open with the appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures in place to provide the safest environment for you to enjoy our 140 acre zoo.

"As you cannot visit us just yet, please do remember to check our social channels and website for the latest updates.

"Every day the zoo is closed to guests, our need for your support grows. Please donate if you can to help us cover basic animal care costs such as feed and bedding.

"Every penny adds up and so does our gratitude, so thank you for your loyal support – we need you now more than ever.

"We would like to reassure you that the health and welfare of the animals in our care will not be compromised by this decision.

"While our gates are closed to the public, we are focusing all our attentions and on-site staffing towards essential animal welfare only.

"A team of committed and experienced keepers and vets remain on duty at Marwell Zoo, maintaining the same great levels of welfare the animals enjoy throughout the year while following a number of additional safety and social distancing procedures.

"A skeleton team are also still working behind the scenes to perform some necessary functions however, the majority of our zoo team are on the Government furlough scheme which has been a lifeline for us."