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Bernhardt greenlights NP superintendents to shut down facilities

[The following is a USNPS press release issued March 17, 2020]

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service (NPS) is taking extraordinary steps to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to promote social distancing. The NPS is modifying operations, until further notice, for facilities and programs that cannot adhere to this guidance. Where it is possible to adhere to this guidance, outdoor spaces will remain open to the public.

“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners is the priority of the National Park Service,” Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said. “Park superintendents are empowered to modify their operations, including closing facilities and cancelling programs, to address the spread of the coronavirus.


“The NPS is working with federal, state, and local authorities, while we as a nation respond to this public health challenge,” NPS Deputy Director David Vela said. “Park superintendents are assessing their operations now to determine how best to protect the people and their parks going forward.”

The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.

For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, we ask that they take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.

Updates about the NPS response to the coronavirus will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.

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