Following limitations on the number of people who can gather at events, the Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Department and Topeka Zoo announced restrictions of their own.

Gianfranco Pezzino, Shawnee County health officer, announced in a Nov. 12 press conference the large event limit dropped from 500 people to 100 people with mass gatherings capped at 10 people. Pezzino said private events and weddings are limited by these restrictions as well.

“Those private parties sometimes act as superspreaders,” Pezzino said at the press conference.

The zoo will require masks when on zoo grounds, even when outside, unless you are eating or drinking, according to a Friday press release. It also requires pre-ordering tickets to attend the Zoo Lights event, and recommends zoo patrons pre-order tickets online for daily admission. Those mandates go in effect Saturday.

“Over the last six months we have seen how important it is to our community that we are open,” said zoo director Brendan Wiley in the release. “We want to make sure we stay open and do everything we can to provide a safe and healthy experience here.”

The zoo is also installing foot pulls for many bathroom stalls and touchless fixtures for the bathrooms. The zoo also wants people to share the viewing area.

“Guests are encouraged to be conscious of others at viewing windows and not monopolize prime views for extended periods of time,” the release said.

The parks and recreation department canceled events that had more than 10 people, but said in a Friday press release events that can abide by the 10 person or fewer limit will continue.

Practices and gym rentals are canceled but the department said its rental facilities and community centers will remain open but at limited capacity.

Mass events, like weddings, will be limited to 100 people in compliance with the health department’s restrictions, and the parks and recreation departments said groups of 10 people must social distance by at least 10 feet apart.

Shawnee County’s newest COVID-19 restrictions end Dec. 14.

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