At the beginning of the year, Niantic announced three in-person ‘Safari Zone’ events scheduled to take place in St. Louis in March, Liverpool in April, and Philidelphia in May in Pokémon GO. However, they quickly had to reschedule these events due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The company offered refunds for the tickets but told players that if they kept their tickets, they would not only get to use them for the rescheduled event but also have access to a virtual Safari Zone event that they could enjoy while trapped in their homes.
The Safari Zone event was only active for ticket holders and started at 10 a.m. EST for early pass holders, and at 12 p.m. EST for normal pass holders. The event lasted until 6 p.m. EST. Ticketholders were able to catch Pokémon that would have been featured during the event, like Teddiursa (including its Shiny form), Ferroseed, Lunatone, Unown, Snivy, and Chatot, all of which are usually found exclusively in South America. The event had a Special Research that rewarded players with 200 Great Balls, an Incense, a Premium Battle Pass, a Super Incubator, and a guaranteed Shiny Teddiursa. The event Pokémon was more common after using an Incense, and players who used the item during the event had it last for the entire duration of the event instead of the usual hour. In addition, Incense Pokémon generated faster during the event, generating every minute instead of every 5 minutes.
This is the first time Niantic has done a ticketed event worldwide. While past ticketed events in Pokémon GO usually had game-breaking issues, this event worked very well. This could be due to the players being spread out instead of all in one spot. Some trainers experienced a few glitches with the game crashing or experienced some lag, but none of these problems made the game unplayable, unlike most of the glitches that plagued prior ticketed events.
Niantic plans to do a remote Safari Zone in Pokémon GO for the players with tickets for the other two Safari Zones as well, with the Liverpool event happening from April 17 to 20 and the Philadelphia event happening on May 8 to 10.