The National Park Service announced Tuesday a nationwide mandate that all visitors, employees and contractors wear a mask inside all NPS buildings, and in crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission levels.
“Visitors to national parks are coming from locations across the country, if not across the world. Because of this, and recognizing that the majority of the United States is currently in substantial or high transmission categories, we are implementing a service-wide mask requirement to ensure our staff and visitors’ safety,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge.
The requirement will be in effect until further notice, and applies to all NPS buildings and public transportation systems. It also applies to outdoors spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails and overlooks.
“Being vaccinated is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of the coronavirus. Masking in addition to being vaccinated will help prevent the spread of new variants and protect those who are more at risk of severe disease. This simple act of kindness allows us to be safe while we continue to enjoy the benefits of our national parks,” said Capt. Maria Said, MD, an epidemiologist in the NPS Office of Public Health and a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.
Individuals looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine can visit vaccines.gov to find a location close to them and make an appointment. Individuals can also text their ZIP code to 438829 and get a text with the closest COVID-19 vaccine location.