Closure Order #20-004

W22 (HAFE-VRP)
Closure Order # [20-004]
March 18, 2020

Closures, restrictions and public use limits:

Closure Order – Portion of a Park Area: Under the authority provided to the Superintendent in 36 CFR 1.5(a)(1)-(2), the follow park areas and facilities are closed, effective immediately, until further notice:
  • Visitor Center
Authority: 36 CFR 1.5(a)(1)-(2)
Notice: This administrative order applies to all individuals subject to the regulatory authority of the National Park Service (NPS) within the boundaries of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, including park visitors, government employees, concession employees, park residents and stakeholders, except as follows:

Finding: The NPS issues this administrative order for the purposes of maintaining public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. This order is consistent with the following local/state/federal public health directives:
  • State of West Virginia, Executive Order No. 9-20, effective as of 8:00PM on March 24, 2020. 1. Stay at home or your place of residence, 2. Non-essential businesses and operations must temporarily cease operations. 3. Essential businesses and operations shall continue to operate. 4. Prohibited activities. 5. Avoid social gatherings. 6. Intent of this order: The intent of this Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible. 7. Enforcement. 8. Duration. This provision of the Order, and all previous executive orders relating to COVID-19, are effective until terminated by subsequent executive order.
  • State of Maryland, Executive Order-Prohibiting Large gatherings and events and closing senior center, proclaimed on March 5, 2020 in an effort to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 with the state. Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure and sporting gatherings and events of more than 250 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues, including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions and fundraisers.
  • State of Maryland, Executive Order-Amending and restating the order of March 12, 2020, prohibiting large gathering and events and closing senior center, and additionally closing bars, restaurants, fitness centers and theaters. “Prohibiting Large Gathering and Events and Closing Senior Center” is amended and restated in its entirety as set forth herein. Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure and sporting gatherings and events of more than 50 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues, including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions and fundraisers.
  • State of Maryland, Executive Order-Number 20-03-19-01, Amending and restating the order of March 16, 2020 prohibiting large gathering and events and closing senior center and additionally closing various other establishment. Dated March 12, 2020, entitled “Prohibiting Large Gathering and Events and Closing Senior Center” as amended on March 16, 2020 and entitled “Amending and restating the order of March 12, 2020” Prohibiting Large Gathering and Events and Closing Senior Center and Additional closing Bars, Restaurants, Fitness Centers and Theaters, is further amended and restated in its entirety as set forth herein. Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues, including but not limited to parades, festivals, conventions and fundraisers.
  • State of Virginia, Executive Order, #51 (2020), Declaration of a state of emergency due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) This Executive Order shall be effective March 12, 2020, and shall remain in full force and in effect until June 10, 2020 unless sooner amended or rescinded by further executive order.
  • State of Virginia, Executive Order, #53( 2020), In furtherance of Executive Order 51 temporary restrictions on restaurants, recreational, entertainment, gatherings, non-essential retail businesses, and closure of K-12 school due to novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Effective 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, 2020 until 11:59 p.m., Thursday, April 23, 2020, all public and private in person gatherings of 10 or more individuals are prohibited.
  • CDC guidance on 6ft distance between people. CDC recommendation of frequent hand washing. Local, County and State entities are using CDC guidance and recommendations and closing public buildings. For example, churches, libraries, bars and restaurants and other public gathering sites are using an “abundance of caution” and closing.
  • DOI COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Supervisor's Guide Phase 2b Actions includes the following: Cancel any large public gatherings or visitor services that confine a large group (10 or more) in a small confined area where people need to be closer than 6 ft. apart to participate. Locally multiple closures have occurred to avoid close contact of people.

These directives require the NPS to take the actions identified above because:
  • The park receives visitors of all ages including older adults year-round. Because of the interpretive themes and recreational opportunities available, the park is appealing to all demographics.
  • The park staff is in constant contact with the public without the 6-foot buffer. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park receives visitors from all over the world, but many of our weekend visitors are from DC and the states of WV, VA, and MD. There have been several cases reported throughout these locations except West Virginia. Locally, MD, VA, WV - have closed public schools starting March 16. The tristate area is working to limit large gatherings, which also impacted bars and restaurants.
  • The elements of the museums are interactive which require use of push buttons and using handheld phone receivers. The rooms are small, connected by narrow hallways, where social distancing is not achievable. Because of the buildings being self-guided, additional staff will be needed to control access to the buildings. Additional staff will be needed if we close buildings and provide guided tours of the outdoors spaces in the lower town area.
  • There is no hand washing facility in this building for visitors. The visitor center is too small of an area to maintain the social distancing recommendations.
  • The Visitor Center is cleaned daily. To mitigate exposure, additional cleaning schedule would be needed. Staffing and cleaning supplies are not available to effectively disinfect the space more frequently.

This order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice. The effectiveness of this order will be assessed on an ongoing basis and will be modified or removed when conditions warrant.

Approval:
/s/ H. Tyrone Brandyburg
Superintendent

Date:
March 18, 2020

Last updated: April 21, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Phone:

(304) 535-6029

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