Royal Botanic Gardens to close to contain coronavirus spread

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and Cranbourne will close to the public but conservation work will continue while the gates are shut.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria chief executive Tim Entwisle said the decision to close the gardens had not been taken lightly.

Royal Botanic Gardens chief executive Tim Entwisle says the decision to close the two gardens is disappointing but necessary to protect the community and staff. Credit:Joe Armao

“We understand the important respite, sanctuary and connection with nature our green urban spaces offer the public at this challenging time,” he said.

“However, after careful consideration we have decided to close for the safety of our staff, visitors and the community.”

Australia is now in stage two of the coronavirus restrictions with distances of 1.5 metres required between people – even outdoors.

It is unclear when the gardens will reopen, with management deciding to close them to the public until further notice.

But botanists will carry on with their bushfire recovery as they work to prevent extinction of native species that were badly damaged in summer’s devastating fires.

Mr Entwisle said wherever possible under the current restrictions, the plant rescue team would continue maintaining the collection of seeds and cuttings of threatened Victorian flora.

“I understand our closing will be a disappointment to many, but while our gates are shut we will continue to care for the Gardens’ beautiful living landscapes and plant collections, its irreplaceable State Botanical Collection, and the natural bushland at Cranbourne.”

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