Public Health Information for the Park Partner Community

illustration of round ball with spikes
Image: CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

We appreciate that partners and park managers continue to work cooperatively to respond to the coronavirus pandemic to ensure guest, customer, and employee safety and health and to provide clear and accurate communications to our visitors and customers.

This space provides information and updates about public health matters that are of importance to our partner community including commercial service providers such as concessioners, commercial use authorization holders, and leaseholders as well as partners such as cooperating associations, friends groups and authorized philanthropic partners, education partners, volunteer groups, and others.

On This Page Navigation

Current Status of the NPS

Information about the NPS response to the coronavirus pandemic is available at nps.gov/coronavirus. Links to this page are also posted on the NPS national social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter).

Aligning Our Invitation to the Public

#PlanLikeAParkRanger

Many national parks are experiencing an especially busy year in 2021—and as park partners, we know that this impacts you, too. The NPS #PlanLikeAParkRanger campaign encourages trip planning to ensure visitors plan ahead and understand what to expect at destination parks. A page for partners provides more details about how to engage.

#RecreateResponsibly

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPS has been engaged in messaging around safe and responsible visitation. The #RecreateResponsibly campaign supports the global effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and shares more familiar messages such as Leave No Trace. In parks as well as in the digital space, staff and partners have posted signs and shared informational graphics as public health reminders. Operational/on-site partners can work with partner parks to access and print these signs, materials, and graphics. Additional information is on the Recreate Responsibly page on NPS.gov, including tips for planning a park visit. Please share these messages with your customers and audiences.

What Partners Can Do During the NPS Response

We ask for your assistance in several ways:

Vaccination Requirements for NPS Operational Partners

Regarding Applicable Court Orders and Injunctions:

On December 7, a court order was issued regarding the implementation of EO 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. As a result, the Government will take no action to enforce the requirements of Executive Order 14042, absent further written notice from the agency, where the place of performance identified in the contract is in a U.S. state or outlying area subject to a court order prohibiting the application of requirements pursuant to the Executive Order (hereinafter, “Excluded State or Outlying Area”). In all other circumstances, the Government will enforce the clause, except for contractor employees who perform substantial work on or in connection with a covered contract in an Excluded State or Outlying Area, or in a covered contractor workplace located in an Excluded State or Outlying Area. More information and a current list of such Excluded States and Outlying Areas is available from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.

NPS workplace safety protocols for federal buildings and federally controlled facilities continue to apply to all, including partners. In accordance with EO 13991, Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing, operational partners working onsite in NPS facilities are required to follow NPS workplace safety protocols. Masks are required for every person, regardless of location or vaccination status, in all NPS buildings, crowded outdoor spaces, and all forms of enclosed public transportation.

For additional information and guidance, operational partners should consult with their NPS liaison.

Information Being Provided to Your Customers

Our Washington Office of Communications, in coordination with the Department of the Interior Communications Office, works closely with regional and park public information officers to respond to media and public inquires. We request that you work with your NPS park contacts as you normally would to review information you are communicating with your customers. They will quickly respond to your requests.

  • Commercial visitor service providers, cooperating association staff, as well as NPS employees, volunteers, and other partners often engage in meaningful, positive conversations and dialogue with visitors throughout our parks. Occasionally, however, a situation that requires practiced skills in de-escalation may arise. Conflict de-escalation strategies can make all the difference in these circumstances. (Registration is available through your park partner.)
  • Discussion Guides also provide techniques and insights for keeping lines of communication open with visitors and invite mutual learning. (Registration is available through your park partner.)

Safety and Health Practices

Partners should utilize the guidance and practice the preventive measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the science is updated and conditions change, public health recommendations will continue to evolve. The NPS has issued the following guidance relevant to partners to help address the implementation of CDC guidance in your park operations. This guidance will continue to expand and will be updated as appropriate.

Universal Masking Requirement for Shared Indoor and Designated Outdoor Spaces 

Visitors to national parks are coming from locations across the country, if not across the world. Because of this and recognizing that the majority of the United States is currently in substantial or high transmission categories, the National Park Service is implementing a service-wide mask requirement to ensure our staff and visitors’ safety. On August 16, the NPS issued guidance for universal mask wearing in shared indoor and designated outdoor spaces that applies to everyone, including cooperating associations, commercial service providers (i.e., concessioners and commercial use authorization holders), and other partners. Commercial service providers and partners should work with their park superintendents to implement these new requirements including posting signs at all entrances and places of communal gathering and updating their web sites providing notice of the mask wearing requirement. 

Transportation

On June 10, the CDC posted an updated Requirement for Face Masks on Public Transportation Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs, including:

  • CDC announced that it will be amending its Face Masks Order to not require people to wear a mask in outdoor areas of conveyances (if such outdoor areas exist on the conveyance) or while outdoors at transportation hubs.

  • CDC announced that until it can amend the order, it will exercise its enforcement discretion to not require wearing a mask in outdoor areas of transportation conveyances (if such outdoor areas exist on the conveyance) or while outdoors at transportation hubs.

  • CDC continues to recommend wearing of masks in these areas by people who are not fully vaccinated.

These CDC changes modify applicable sections on mask-wearing requirements for transportation systems provided in NPS Transportation System Operations, including:

Possible Exposure

If you have employees, guests, or customers who report a possible exposure, suspect or confirmed case of illness from the COVID-19 virus, please immediately contact the park so that they can work with you to coordinate with public health authorities.

Changes in Your Operations

As always, when you make changes in your operations—whether reducing, closing, or resuming your operations—please work with your park manager, or appropriate regional offices if your operations cover multiple regions, before taking that action. They will help work through any considerations, logistics, notifications, and communications.

Where to Find Other Information

Volunteer Organizations

Partner organizations that manage volunteers should be in touch with the local NPS VIP coordinator or park manager for updates or with questions. If your work is done under a grant or cooperative agreement and you have additional questions, please contact your Federal Assistance Awarding Officer.

U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA): American Rescue Plan Programs

The American Rescue Plan allocates $3 billion to EDA in supplemental funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks. Partners may be eligible to apply for these grant programs as applicable through a series of six American Rescue Plan funding opportunities.

In particular, through its Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program, EDA is focused on accelerating the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors. $750 million of EDA’s American Rescue Plan funds are allocated to support state tourism grants and competitive grants.

Additional funding opportunities include:

  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge
  • Good Jobs Challenge
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance Challenge
  • Indigenous Communities Challenge
  • Statewide Planning, Research and Networks Grants


As always, the partnership teams across the National Park Service are ready to assist. Please let us know how we can help you navigate the many changes happening around us.

Last updated: January 6, 2022