We want to keep you informed about our response to the coronavirus outbreak. Here are the answers to some of the most common FAQs we receive.

The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth is open to the public. Our other sanctuaries remain closed, but we will be providing an update on opening our other public-facing sanctuaries soon, so please keep an eye on our website for updates.

Visiting our sanctuaries

When will your other sanctuaries reopen to the public?

We will be providing an update on opening our other public-facing centres across the UK, Ireland and Europe soon, so please keep an eye on our website for updates

Do I need to wear a face covering when I visit?

For the safety and reassurance of our staff and our visitors, The Donkey Sanctuary requests that you wear face coverings while using our indoor areas.

Are you accepting group visits?

We will begin welcoming groups back to The Donkey Sanctuary from Monday 6 September.

Pre-booking is essential. For more information or to book your group visit, please call 01395 578222.

Do I need to pre-book my visit?

Pre-booking is not required, but we recommend checking our website and social media pages for the latest information and updates before leaving home.

Are you restricting the numbers of visitors on site?

No, but we will be monitoring the number of visitors coming to the sanctuary on entry to the car parks.

Procedures are in place to manage visitor flow and react if crowding becomes an issue. Please rest assured that your safety and the safety of our staff and donkeys is our priority.

Will you be taking visitors’ details on arrival?

From 19 July, it is no longer a legal requirement for visitors over the age of 16 to comply with the Government’s Test and Trace scheme. However, visitors will still have the option to check in using the NHS Covid-19 app or by scanning the NHS QR code displayed at entry points.

What are your opening hours?

The sanctuary is open every day from 9am – 5pm, with last entry into the car park at 4pm and 4.30pm into The Kitchen.

All visitors are required to leave the sanctuary by 5pm, to allow our grooms time to complete their essential care of the donkeys. We appreciate in previous years’ visitors may have enjoyed staying later, however due to Covid-19 our grooms are now working early and late shifts to minimise contact with visitors. Thank you for your understanding.

Will I still be able to see the donkeys when I visit?

Yes, all the walkways around the sanctuary will be open providing plenty of opportunities to interact with the resident donkeys. Please DO NOT feed the donkeys, their diets are carefully managed by our staff to make sure they receive the appropriate food.

What measures remain in place to keep staff and visitors safe?

A one-way route remains in place in the heart of the sanctuary to maintain visitor flow around the sanctuary. 1m floor markings will remain in queue areas.

We have a number of handwashing stations / sanitiser points located in key areas around the sanctuary.

Our staff will continue to wear appropriate PPE.

Tables in The Kitchen and picnic benches have been suitably spaced. From 19 July, however, government guidance states that the ‘rule of six’ or two households no longer applies when dining in the restaurant.

We have hygiene screens at the tills in The Kitchen and gift shop.

We have introduced enhanced cleaning procedures throughout the day, which seek to disinfect high frequency touch points.

We have marked out parking bays so you can park and disembark safely.

Will I be able to visit my adoption donkey?

Yes, all the walkways around the sanctuary will be open, allowing plenty of opportunities to visit your adoption donkey.

Can people catch coronavirus from donkeys?

There is no evidence that people can catch coronavirus from donkeys.

Can donkeys catch coronavirus from people?

There is no evidence that donkeys can catch coronavirus from people.

Advice for donkey owners and Donkey Guardians

If you are a donkey owner or Donkey Guardian worried about caring for your animals during the Covid-19 outbreak, we are still here for you. Please read our specific guidance on what you can do to help your donkeys and mules if you self-isolate or become unwell.

(Updated: 09/08/21, 10:01 BST)