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 that page are also posted on the NPS national social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter).

Aligning Our Invitation to the Public

#PlanLikeAParkRanger

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.

#RecreateResponsibly

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:

Vaccination Requirements for NPS Operational Partners

Regarding Applicable Court Orders and Injunctions:

On December 7, 2021, 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. Please see information below about masking requirements.

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

Additional Information for Cooperating Associations:

The Department of the Interior's updated COVID-19 workplace safety requirements apply to onsite contractors and business visitors accessing NPS buildings. Cooperating associations are considered business visitors for purposes of these requirements. As of March 30, 2022, consistent with the CDC's COVID-19 Community Levels tool:

  • In areas of LOW COVID community level, business visitors and onsite contractors who access or work in NPS buildings DO NOT need to attest to their vaccination status or take COVID-19 tests.

  • In areas of MEDIUM or HIGH COVID community level, business visitors and onsite contractors MUST attest to their vaccination status. If they are not fully vaccinated, they must also provide a negative test result dated within the prior three days.

There is no requirement for recreational visitors to provide information about their vaccination status to gain entry to NPS buildings.

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.

Masking Requirements for Shared Indoor Spaces

The NPS has updated its masking guidance based on the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels tool, which helps communities decide what prevention steps to take. These changes apply to commercial service providers ( e.g., concessioners, commercial use authorization holders, lessees) and partners such as cooperating associations.

Masking requirements will 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 buildings regardless of vaccination status. This includes commercial service provider and partner buildings. In most low and medium COVID-19 community level areas, masks are optional.

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 stringent 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. Masks are still required on all forms of enclosed public transportation operated by commercial service providers or partners.

Commercial service providers and partners should work with their park superintendent to implement these requirements including posting signs and updating their web sites.

Transportation

On June 10, 2021, 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:

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

Update to COVID-19 vaccination attestation requirements: Consistent with guidance from the CDC and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, the Department of the Interior has updated COVID-19 workplace safety requirements that apply to business visitors (including volunteers) accessing NPS buildings. Effective immediately, requirements will vary based on the applicable CDC COVID-19 Community Level:

Low COVID Community Levels

In areas of LOW community level, business visitors (including volunteers) DO NOT need to attest to their vaccination status.

  • What this means: Volunteer Vaccination Attestation guidance issued in December 2021 no longer applies to volunteers serving in areas of LOW community level.
  • What parks and programs must do: Parks, programs, and volunteer partner organizations in areas of LOW community level must communicate to volunteers that they are no longer required to fill out the Certification of Vaccination form and carry it with them while volunteering, or to complete testing requirements. Volunteers may mask at any time and are encouraged to consider how they may protect themselves and others following the latest guidance.

Medium or High COVID Community Levels

In areas of MEDIUM or HIGH community level, business visitors (including volunteers) MUST continue to attest to their vaccination status. If they are not fully vaccinated, they must also provide a negative test result dated within the prior three days.

  • What this means: Volunteer Vaccination Attestation guidance issued in December 2021 still applies to volunteers serving in areas of MEDIUM or HIGH community level. In summary, these volunteers must continue to:
    • Complete and present a Certification of Vaccination form (OMB Control No. 3206-0277). If they have NOT attested to being fully vaccinated, they must also possess and present a negative COVID-19 test result from within the 3 days immediately prior to the date of entry; and
    • Maintain completed form (and test result, if necessary) on their person for the duration of their visit and present it to the volunteer manager or volunteer supervisor, as needed.
  • What parks and programs must do: Parks, programs, and volunteer partner organizations in areas of MEDIUM or HIGH community levels must continue to follow the Volunteer Vaccination Attestation guidance above.

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: May 6, 2022