National Park Service implements mask requirement across the country


While Yellowstone was designated the first national park in 1872, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the most annual visitors.

WASHINGTON (WFXR) – The National Park Service is now requiring visitors, employees, and contractors to wear a mask inside all NPS buildings and in crowded outdoor spaces — regardless of vaccination status or community transmission levels — following the latest guidance from the CDC.

“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. 

According to the statement released by the NPS on Monday, Aug. 16, this requirement will be in effect until further notice and applies to all NPS buildings and public transportation systems, as well as outdoor 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.  

If you want to get a COVID-19 vaccine, visit to find a vaccination location nearby and make an appointment.

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