The National Park Service (NPS) announced on Tuesday that it is now required for visitors and employees to wear face masks in all national parks, NPS buildings and facilities, including the National Mall, as part of measures against the spread of COVID-19.
The mask requirement applies to the Lincoln Memorial, the Dwight Eisenhower Memorial and Great Falls Park, as well.
The decision comes in support of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, according to a statement from NPS.
“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 Captain, said about the move. “Getting outside and enjoying our public lands is essential to improving mental and physical health, but we all need to work together to recreate responsibly.”
As for NPS-managed lands, visitors are obligated to wear masks only “when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks and historic homes.”
Face masks are now required by all visitors in all NPS facilities and buildings. It is also required when social distancing is not possible such as busy trails, overlooks and historic buildings. Read more at https://t.co/7Xq8cv7vUd #RecreateResponsibly pic.twitter.com/OTP7goFq8K
— National Park Service (@NatlParkService) February 2, 2021
There are also other public health measures implemented by NPS such as capacity limits, one-way trails, and temporary closures in response to local outbreaks.
“Working with public health officials and following the latest science and guidance, we can make national parks safer for employees, visitors and partners,” NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge was quoted as saying in NPS’ statement. “We will continue to evaluate operations and make appropriate modifications to visitor services as needed.”
The park service urges individuals to check the operating status of the park they wish to visit through the website or social media pages of that park.