National Parks Make Masks Mandatory

Throughout the pandemic, different areas have had varying rules about where people had to wear masks. From relatively early on, many businesses required masks indoors. In August, we wrote about the national parks suggesting masks when social distancing wasn’t possible. This week, they have announced that masks are now mandatory.

Some people who have seen one of our ads have been confused. In it, a man walks outside in a mask. They have asked why he wears a mask while outdoors. It’s because there were many people around him here in San Diego, where our trails are packed, and the more catching UK strain of COVID-19 is becoming more and more prevalent. The CDC is now suggesting double masking to protect people from the more contagious variants of COVID-19. As the trails are so busy, and social distancing is impossible, he wore a mask.

A new Executive Order called Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing requires anyone who enters a national park — employees, visitors, partners or contractors — to wear a mask.

Working with public health officials and following the latest science and guidance, we can make national parks safer for employees, visitors and partners,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. “We will continue to evaluate operations and make appropriate modifications to visitor services as needed.”

Some people find wearing masks uncomfortable. Getting outside is vital for health. If you don’t want to wear a mask while being outside, steer clear of national parks for the time being. Go to other local parks. For the sake of your safety and the safety of others, pick quieter parks or go at times you know there will be fewer people around. The more contagious variants of the virus are becoming more common here in the U.S., and it’s essential to be safe while we wait for more folks to be vaccinated.

Walking outside is great for your mood as well as your health. And it’s important to stretch your legs when you’re stuck inside so much of the time. With so many local businesses and places closed, the great outdoors have been calling many of us. It’s a healthy way to enjoy yourself. COVID-19 numbers are going down, which is excellent. Hopefully, numbers will continue to decline, and we will soon be able to return to some sort of ordinary life. But, until then, for the foreseeable future, if you want to visit Yosemite: don’t forget your mask.

Banner image of Yosemite: Mathieu Olivares via Unsplash

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