FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2020
Press Contact: Brendan Lange
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Botanical Garden will re-open to visitors Monday, June 1 with modifications in place to ensure public safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19, Garden officials announced today.
The June 1 reopening marks the start of a three-phased plan in which restrictions will gradually ease under the guidance of public health officials. In the first phase, people will be required to wear face coverings and the Garden will limit the number of visitors to 25 percent of its normal capacity to ensure social distancing. Only the Main Gate near Lincoln Way and 9th Avenue will be operating, and the Helen Crocker Russel Library of Horticulture, Garden Bookstore, Plant Arbor, and Children’s Garden will remain closed.
The Garden will keep its regular spring operating hours of 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the last entry at 6 p.m. Advance tickets are highly encouraged for all visitors including Garden members and San Francisco residents to minimize staff-visitor interactions and transaction times. Advance tickets can be reserved at sfbg.org/visit.
Public gardens such as San Francisco Botanical Garden are indispensable to community healing, offering much-needed places for respite and connection with nature. The Garden will prioritize the safety of all guests, staff, and volunteers throughout the re-opening process and continue to follow guidance from state and San Francisco public health officials. Staff will be equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE), appropriate signage will be in place, entrances will be marked to ensure social distancing, and additional hand sanitizing stations will be in place. See attached Social Distancing Protocol document for additional detail.
“We are so excited to welcome visitors back to this living outdoor museum where they can get to know more than 9,000 different kinds of plants and experience so much beauty and wonder,” said Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager.
In mid-March the Garden was closed to comply with the shelter-in-place order and to protect the health of visitors, volunteers, and staff. Like many families and businesses, the closure had an immediate and devasting impact on the Garden’s budget, necessitating staff layoffs and reduced hours. Now, the Garden is facing a staggering $1 million in lost revenue. Flower Piano and Youth Education programs have been canceled, and the Garden has been forced to scale back many critical measures that protect cherished plant collections.
San Francisco Botanical Garden is seeking critical private donations to support reopening efforts. Thanks to a generous Garden board member, donations received by June 30 will be matched up to $50,000. Donations to support the Garden can be made at sfbg.org/donate.
“Generous support allows us to maintain the Garden as a vital and open green space – one we need now, more than ever. We are counting down the days to when you can, once again, experience all this spectacular place offers,” says Executive Director Stephanie Linder.
About San Francisco Botanical Garden
San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum is a living museum within Golden Gate Park, offering 55 acres of beautiful gardens displaying more than 9,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. The Garden features nationally accredited collections of high elevation palms, Mesoamerican cloud forest plants, and Magnolias. San Francisco’s mild climate allows the Garden to grow plants from six continents, making San Francisco Botanical Garden unique in the U.S. The collections also include many other species that are rare or endangered in the wild.
The Garden is normally open 365 days of the year and is free for city residents and members. Easily accessed by public transport, the Garden welcomes more than 400,000 people annually – 60% of whom experience the Garden free of charge. The Garden also normally offers dozens of free programs for our communities. Most notable of these are the youth education programs, which engage 13,000 children every year, and Flower Piano, which attracts more than 50,000 visitors in just 12 days.
Established in 1940, originally as Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco Botanical Garden is a public/private partnership between San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
About the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department currently manages more than 220 parks, playgrounds and open spaces throughout San Francisco, including two outside city limits—Sharp Park in Pacifica and Camp Mather in the High Sierras. The system includes full-complex recreation centers, swimming pools, golf courses, sports fields and numerous small-to-medium-sized clubhouses that offer a variety of sports- and arts-related recreation programs for people of all ages. Included in the Department’s responsibilities are Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower, the Marina Yacht Harbor, the San Francisco Zoo and Lake Merced.
In 2017, San Francisco became the first and only city in the nation where all residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk, a direct result of the Department’s commitment to increasing and improving parkland in the city.