What do Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Yosemite national parks have in common? In addition to being some of the largest and most popular protected public spaces in the United States, they’ve all recently reinstated indoor mask policies due to a rise in COVID cases throughout the country.
The new mandates are based on a Department of Interior policy that is informed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 community levels, classifications that rank community caseloads as either “low,” “medium,” or “high.” Currently, the towns in and around the above national parks are experiencing high levels of COVID transmission.
Because all national parks adhere to Department of Interior guidelines, it’s a good idea to check the individual park’s website or download the NPS app for information on current COVID measures before visiting any given national park in the U.S.
Grand Canyon National Park said that it has reinstated the “masking requirements to protect our community, park employees, and visitors.” Grand Canyon added that its leadership decided that it will only remove the masking restrictions after two consecutive weeks of “medium” COVID-19 community levels.
“We are concerned with cycling back and forth from week to week as the COVID pandemic develops and changes,” the park stated. “Park leadership’s efforts are to strive for consistency in policy and process and ensuring our operations and staff are as safe and secure as possible.”
Although Grand Canyon won’t remove the mandate until there have been two consecutive weeks of reduced cases, the NPS said it is up to park managers to decide when to remove masks. The other parks haven’t yet announced what measures they’d use to give the all clear.
While masking isn’t required in most outdoor areas, it will be necessary for national park service buildings (like visitor centers, gift shops, offices, restaurants, and bus depots) and on all tour buses and shuttles. Currently, in Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Yosemite all visitors age two and older are required to wear masks in indoor areas, regardless of vaccination status.