The Welsh Mountain Zoo has voiced its delight after finding out they should be able to re-open their gates soon.

The hard-up Colwyn Bay zoo has struggled financially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Friday, June 19, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the visitor and tourism industry can start preparations to reopen if the spread of the virus continues to decline.

On Monday, a series of changes will be made to the coronavirus regulations – the main change will be to enable non-essential retail businesses to open.

Ministers said they will lift the requirement to stay local July 6, provided the conditions allow.

With the requirement lifted, people will be able to travel to tourist attractions across Wales.

The zoo said they were 'delighted' with today's announcement.

In the meanwhile, the site intends to put in 'careful and thoughtful' planning to ensure visitors can practise social distancing and measures.

An official date for re-opening is set to be revealed next week.

Jen Jesse, director of operations and administration at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, said: “This is fantastic news for us. The past three months have been incredibly challenging and we now feel that there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

“We made the decision on March 22 to close our gates, in order to be socially responsible, and to support efforts to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus as much as we possibly could. It’s now great to see that the R rate has been dropping in recent weeks.

“The five-mile travel restrictions set in place and the advice to stay local have meant that it would not be financially viable for the zoo to reopen. However, with these restrictions shortly being lifted, this will allow visitors from a wider catchment to visit once we reopen.

“Whist this news is great for ourselves, we also want to extend our sympathies to our friends with indoor attractions such as Rhyl SeaQuarium, for whom the wait on reopening continues. We hope that they will soon will also be given some positive news to allow them to open their doors once again.

“Over the coming weeks we will be finalising our preparations for reopening and we’ll be announcing our official reopening date to our friends and supporters next week.

“There is no getting away from the fact that we have suffered extreme financial damage since closing and the road to recovery will be long and uncertain. However, we now at least have the ability to create a plan for the future.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our supporters once again for the great lengths they have gone to over the past three-months to support the zoo charity.

"The help they have provided us with is not going unnoticed - we are truly humbled by what each and every one of our supporters have done, and we hope will continue, in support of the National Zoo of Wales.”

Welcoming today’s news that the zoo could be reopened on July 6, when the five mile rule is expected to end, Darren Millar, MS for Clwyd West, said: “With nobody having been allowed to visit zoos and other animal attractions in Wales since March, they are really struggling and they will be delighted that there is now some light at the end of what has been a very long and dark tunnel for them."

At the next review on July 9, the Welsh Government will consider a range of specific options for opening:

Self-contained holiday accommodation

Personal care services, such as hairdressing and beauty, by appointment.

Discussions will also be held with the hospitality sector about the potential phased reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants while maintaining strict social distancing.