Coronavirus Update: National Parks Turning into Coronavirus Hotspots

Many United States national parks are still open for business as of March 17, despite the closing of other major venues, events and concert halls. According to the Guardian, many national parks are still full of spring break visitors.

Big Bend national park reportedly had thousands of visitors, as governors and mayors urge those in cities to practice social distancing and stay away from large crowds. Golden Gate national recreation area, the National Mall and the Statue of Liberty are the only parks that have closed in the wake of coronavirus.

Grand Canyon National Park

As tourists walked around the park visitor center in the Grand Canyon national park, took shuttle buses and filled restaurants, Grand Canyon national park public information officer Lily Daniels told the Guardian, “Our focus is on ensuring park employees are safe.” Other employees requested the Department of Interior close their parks, but many remain open.

Daniels said the park was practicing social distancing per the CDC guidelines but didn’t say how many visitors the park had. While many parks do have large areas and acreage great for social distancing, other spots like shuttle buses, restrooms or visitor centers are often full of people.

Park employees wrote on social media their concerns over getting sick. One employee who cleans park bathrooms said, “It’s not a matter of if I get sick but when.”

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

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Catch up on our coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

Eliza Erskine, 19 March 2020