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The directors of Colchester Zoo have admitted they "don't know" what the future holds after it shut its doors due to coronavirus.
A letter was sent out to the zoo's supporters and passholders, advising that it is now closed for the foreseeable future.
It said: "The use of the word sorrow depicts how difficult I view the current situation and where we are in terms of managing the disease along with the impact to people, jobs and the future of everyone young and old.
"We are in the unknown, we don’t know what the future for the zoo will be."
The zoo, which employs over 450 people, will retain its animal care team and veterinarians to ensure the health of its animals.
The letter spoke of the last time the zoo was forced to close - during the Foot and Mouth outbreak - and the support it received from the local community upon reopening.
It said: "We will return or certainly will do our very best to be back in spite of this huge challenge.
"We hope that just like Foot and Mouth you will be there on the day we re-open, at the front of the queue to give us your much needed support."