Visitor facilities, hotels, museums, ranger programs, and other visitor services across the National Park System shut down Tuesday, hours after park superintendents were given the authority to do what they thought best to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the parks. Shuttle systems ground to a halt, visitor centers closed, as did some entrance stations and campgrounds, and ranger-led tours and concessionaire-provided activities were halted in many parks. Even the iconic Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park shut down.
“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 Tuesday morning. “Park superintendents are empowered to modify their operations, including closing facilities and cancelling programs, to address the spread of the coronavirus.”