With little activities left for anyone looking to responsibly practice social distancing outdoors, Yosemite National Park has shut down as the Coronavirus continues to paralyze California. The closure will be enforced 24-hours a day/7-days a week.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Yosemite National Park is our number one priority,” said the park in a statement. “The National Park Service (NPS) is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.”
Yosemite National Park is announcing modifications to operations at the request of the local health department. As of 3:00 pm today, Friday, March 20, 2020, Yosemite National Park is closed to all park visitors until further notice. https://t.co/H4W3mueY5w— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) March 20, 2020
Outdoor areas in State Parks and other National Parks in Northern California (Redwood National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park) remain open to the public, but the closure of Yosemite has outdoor adventurers on edge. The closure comes as California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a “shelter-in-place” mandate statewide, forcing 40 million residents to stay home.
“You can still take your kids outside, practicing common sense and social distancing. You can still walk your dog,” said Governor Newsom.
Park visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Yosemite National Park. Visitors are encouraged to learn about park resources and stories through the many multimedia presentations currently available on the park’s website. In place of traveling to Yosemite National Park in person, visitors are encouraged to download the park’s free Appand continue to enjoy Yosemite National Park through the park’s webcams. There are many wonderful resources available for all ages to remotely explore Yosemite National Park.
The unprecedented move left many residents scratching their heads, trying to figure out exactly what they can do while the mandate is in place. But one detail is made clear: outdoor exercise while practicing social distance is alright.