The National Park Service works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state, tribal, and local public health authorities and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure the safety of park visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners. When we are responding to an ongoing public health incident, this page will provide timely updates about our response activities and links to specific information about parks that may be involved.
2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
As the NPS monitors and responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, we work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health to use the latest science to guide our decision making. To protect the health of those who live, work, and visit America’s national parks, face masks are required in all NPS buildings and facilities. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and historic homes. Additional public health measures are in place across the National Park System, from capacity limits to one-way trails or temporary closures in response to local conditions.
Modifications to park operations are adjusted on a unit-by-unit basis as park managers monitor local conditions and evaluate each facility function and service with the support of public health professionals. Most of the 423 units of the National Park System are available to visitors, however some facilities and services may be limited. Check with individual parks for specific details about their operations.
Staying Safe in Parks and Recreating Responsibly
The CDC has noted that being physically active is one of the best ways to keep the mind and body healthy. In most areas, people can visit parks, trails, and open spaces as a way to relieve stress, get some fresh air and vitamin D, stay active, and safely connect with members of their household. Research the park you want to visit in advance to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience. Park rangers are on duty to uphold normal rules and regulations and assist visitors as needed.
Visitors are required to wear face masks in federal buildings including visitor centers, historic structures, and museums. When outdoors, face masks are required on NPS-administered lands when physical distance cannot be maintained.
As CDC science-based guidance changes, the NPS will adapt. We encourage you to review CDC guidance when making your plans to visit a park and recreate responsibly. The CDC emphasizes that wearing a face mask is one of the strongest ways to protect ourselves and others from the ongoing dangers of COVID-19. When outdoors, the CDC recommends that everyone should wear a mask if they find themselves in crowded situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained, regardless of their vaccination status.
For the health and safety of others, please choose another time to visit a park if:
- You are experiencing COVID-like symptoms such as a dry cough, fever, difficulty breathing, and/or loss of taste or smell.
- You had close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- You are self-isolating or self-quarantining because you may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or are worried that you may be sick with COVID-19.
Protecting Our Employees
Employees, volunteers, partners, and contractors are required to wear face masks while in federal buildings and on federal lands. The NPS issues protective equipment to employees performing critical functions like visitor and resource protection, EMS, and facility maintenance, among others. Following CDC guidance, park staff clean and maintain facilities to safeguard employee and public health and safety. We follow the latest CDC guidance for risk assessment, disease prevention, and protection of public spaces and workplaces.
We track confirmed employee cases of COVID-19 and recovery. However, we will only provide public information where an employee presented an exposure risk to the public based on CDC guidance. In addition, where employees may have exposed any of their colleagues, the NPS Office of Public Health will work with state, tribal, or local authorities and the impacted employees to follow proper public health procedures to keep one another safe.
Changes in Park, Facility, and Program Operations
Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.
Some NPS programs may have changed their operations as well (e.g., extended due dates for reporting or applications, shortened hours of operation, changed contact information, etc.). Please check with the program for details. If you are an operational partner of the NPS (e.g., concessioner, cooperating association, or philanthropic organization), visit the Public Health Information for the Park Partner Community page.
Other Federal Resources and Information
This is the primary portal for public information maintained by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House, working in conjunction with CDC, HHS and other agency stakeholders.
Leading the Federal Response
The US Department of Health and Human Services is the lead federal agency with responsibility for public health.