Closure Order # [20-005]
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:
Authority: 36 CFR 1.5(a)(1)-(2)
: 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:
: 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 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.
- 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 Visitor Center restroom is one of two main public restrooms in the park. Because confined space, operations present a hazard to both employees and visitors with lack of social distancing. This activity also presents unavoidable close contact of less than 6ft for visitors. Proximity and inability to disinfect this space continuously poses public safety risk. Multiple visitors in enclosed space makes disinfection of space almost impossible and cannot be guaranteed due to manual opening and closing of doors and stalls. This public facility will become a breeding ground for spreading the virus to visitors and employees.
- The staff is in constant contact with the public without the 6 ft buffer. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park receives visitors from all over the world, but many of our weekend visitors are from the states of WVA, VA, and MD. There have been several cases reported throughout this location except West Virginia. Locally, MD, VA, WV- has closed public school starting March 16. The tristate area is working to limit large gathering, and which also impacted bars and restaurants.
- Presently the Park is not fully staffed and does not have custodial staff available to disinfect the space to ensure the facility will not become a breeding ground for the spreading the virus to the public.
- As one of two public restrooms in the Park, staffing is not available to effectively disinfect space. To mitigate exposure additional cleaning schedule would be needed. Park restrooms are cleaned 3 times a day. Disinfecting supplies and manpower are limited, resulting in the inability to increase cleaning schedule.
- 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.
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.
/s/ H. Tyrone Brandyburg
March 18, 2020