SPRINGDALE (ABC4 News) – Zion National Park officials are taking additional steps to improve social distancing and help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Park officials announced Monday that effective immediately, Angels Landing Trail from Scout Lookout to the end of the trail will temporarily close. The West Rim Trail will remain open. Effective Wednesday March 25, 2020 at 12 p.m., Zion National Park will close park campgrounds.
“With this closure, it is important to remember that no other areas in the Park are authorized for camping,” park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus stated in a press release.
The park itself remains open. Last week Zion National Park suspended its shuttle operation after noticing the long shuttle lines and crowding on the shuttles, allowing visitors to drive up the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to access trails until the 457 parking spaces in the main canyon fills.
Park officials have not determined at this time when the shuttle service will resume.
“The health and safety of people visiting and working at Zion National Park is our priority. We are working with the National Park Service Office of Public Health and the U.S. Public Health Service to closely monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation,” Baltrus added. “Reopening of campgrounds, resumption of shuttle service, and the Angel’s Landing trail depend on the eventual resolution of the COVID-19 emergency.”
The closures will be rescinded once the National Park Service can assure public safety.
In lieu of staffed buildings, park officials are creating virtual visitor centers and putting all wilderness permits online. Park rangers will be available to answer phone calls and emails during regular business hours, with contact information included on signs throughout the park.
All visitor contact stations are closed until further notice because of safety and health concerns, including the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, Human History Museum, and Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, officials say.
The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Visitors are asked to take responsibility for their own safety. NPS Public Health Service Officers recommend that everyone should take the following routine precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water or not available, use >60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or do so with your elbow. Dispose of the tissue and wash your hands again.
- As much as possible, keep 6 feet of separation between yourself and others to reduce the potential spread of infection.
- Most important, if you experience flu symptoms or any serious infection or virus, stay home to avoid exposing others.
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