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.
Aligning Our Invitation to the Public
The NPS #PlanLikeAParkRanger campaign--continuing in 2022--encourages trip planning to ensure visitors plan ahead and understand what to expect at destination parks. In 2022, there is a special emphasis on encouraging visitors not to miss out on amazing parks that may be less well-known but also offer incredible experiences. A page for partners provides more details about how to engage.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPS has been engaged in messaging around safe and responsible visitation. The #RecreateResponsibly campaign guidelines offer a starting point for getting outside to keep yourself and others safe while working to maintain access to inspirational natural spaces. It also amplifies 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:
Information Being Provided to Your Customers
The NPS Office of Communications works closely with the Department as well as 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. Discussion Guides also provide techniques and insights for keeping lines of communication open with visitors and invite mutual learning. (Common Learning Portal registration is available through your park partner.)
Safety and Health Practices
Partners should follow guidance from the CDC, Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, and the DOI Workforce Safety Plan (version 5.0). 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 be updated as appropriate.
Official visitors, contractors, volunteers, and other individuals are not required to attest to their vaccination status or provide proof of a negative test for entry into a DOI workplace.
Masking Requirements for Shared Indoor Spaces
NPS ongoing masking guidance is based on the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels tool, which helps communities decide what prevention steps to take. This guidance applies to commercial service providers (e.g., concessioners, commercial use authorization holders, lessees) and partners such as cooperating associations when in NPS-controlled buildings.
Masking requirements vary by park based on local conditions. In areas CDC identifies as high COVID-19 community level, masks are required for everyone in all NPS-controlled buildings regardless of vaccination status.
Although commercial service providers are not required to follow the NPS mask-wearing guidance in their assigned buildings, following this guidance is encouraged to provide a consistent approach to managing COVID-19 risk throughout the park.
Employees and customers of commercial service providers and partners will still be required to wear masks if a state, local, Tribal, or territorial government where the park is located imposes more protective mask-wearing requirements. Commercial service providers and partners may also require employees to wear masks as an independent business decision in consultation with their park superintendent. Customers and employees may also wear a mask if it makes them more comfortable and should not be discouraged from doing so.
Commercial service providers and partners should work with their park superintendent to implement requirements including posting signs and updating their web sites.
Masks must be worn in government-operated aircraft, boats, and other maritime transportation, and buses with multiple occupants regardless of COVID-19 Community Levels.
CDC continues to recommend and DOI strongly encourages mask-wearing in enclosed areas of aircraft, boats, and other maritime transportation, and buses operating on DOI-controlled lands (e.g., transportation operated by contactors, concessioners, or other partners).
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
Additional information about DOI’s response to the pandemic, including the current DOI Workforce Safety Plan is on DOI.gov.
Last updated: September 9, 2022