TUESDAY, Aug. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Masks are now required for all visitors, employees and contractors inside U.S. National Park Service (NPS) facilities and in crowded outdoor spaces, the service said Monday.
The mandate applies regardless of people's vaccination status or community transmission levels, and will be in effect until further notice, Forbes reported.
"At a time when visits to America's National Parks are surging along with domestic travel, the new regulation may not come as a surprise to those who have braved crowds at Yellowstone, Arcadia or the Grand Canyon in 2021," the NPS said in a news release.
"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.
Along with all NPS buildings and public transportation systems, masks will be required in outdoor spaces where physical social distancing isn't possible, such as narrow or busy trails and overlooks, Forbes reported.
"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," Capt. Maria Said, an epidemiologist in the park service's Office of Public Health and a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, said in the NPS news release.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on masking.