The National Parks Service will now require visitors to wear masks in accordance with an executive order issued by President Joe Biden last month, the United States Department of Interior announced Tuesday.
Biden’s order, issued the first day he was in office, mandated masks in federal buildings and on federal lands controlled by the executive branch, which includes national park sites, under the supervision of the DOI.
“Wearing a mask around others, physical distancing and washing your hands are the simplest and most effective public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Sara Newman, NPS Office of Public Health director, said in a statement shared by the DOI.
NPS will now require all visitors and employees to don masks inside buildings and facilities and on NPS-managed lands “when physical distancing cannot be maintained,” according to the DOI. For example, a mask will be required when a trail is too narrow or is busy, on overlooks or in historic homes.
“We will continue to evaluate operations and make appropriate modifications to visitor services as needed,” Shawn Benge, NPS deputy director, said in the release.
The NPS recommends visitors check individual parks’ sites for operational updates.
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