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Wildlife Images visitors stay a wingspan apart

If you’re having trouble remembering the appropriate space for social distancing, just think of a turkey vulture’s wingspan — six feet.

That’s how far Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center is reminding visitors to spread out.

The 24-acre facility in Josephine County reopened Saturday, May 16, following eight weeks of closure due to the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown announced Josephine and Jackson counties were among 31 counties statewide that received the green light for phase one reopening, which includes facilities such as restaurants, stores, bars, salons, gyms and malls, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

For the time being, the park will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, said Erin Maxson, community relations director at Wildlife Images.

Wildlife Images will abide by the state’s outdoor recreation guidelines, which limit the size of groups arriving together to no more than 10 people. Facility officials must reinforce the importance of maintaining at least six feet of space between parties. They will also be bound by retail guidelines, which reiterate social distancing standards, the use of signs to remind patrons of those standards, and frequent sanitization of work areas, high-traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces.

Wildlife Images staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks, and visitors are strongly encouraged to wear their own, though it is not required. Plexiglas barriers have been installed to protect front desk employees. Masks will be available for purchase in the gift shop. Just five people at a time will be allowed inside the gift shop, and parties will be asked to designate a single person to go inside to buy tickets for a group, Maxson said.

Wildlife Images has continued to stay productive during the interim, launching a virtual education initiative that included multiple videos uploaded to its YouTube and Facebook accounts. The clinic also remained open for new animal patients.

“We were able to remain very, very busy in a lot of those aspects, just in a different way,” Maxson said.

The facility’s Camp EEK summer programs are expected to continue, with more information to be announced later. See wildlifeimages.org for more information.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

Mail Tribune / file photoVisitors to Wildlife Images will have to stay a turkey vulture's wingspan apart.