NPS Public Health Update

The National Park Service (NPS) strives to ensure the safety of its visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners. When the NPS is responding to an ongoing public health incident, this page will provide timely updates about NPS response activities and links to specific information about parks that may be involved.

The NPS coordinates closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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a CDC graphic illustrating the coronavirus

Image: CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The National Park Service (NPS) is closely monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local officials, we continue to adapt to changing conditions while maintaining public access at a majority of NPS sites.

The NPS plan for the resumption of operations follows current CDC guidance for disease prevention in public places and workspaces. It follows a phased approach to reopen park areas, beginning with outdoor spaces such as trails, boardwalks, observation decks, boat ramps, picnic areas, and other open landscapes. Modifications to park operations will be flexible, continually evaluated, and adjusted on a park-by-park basis with the support of NPS and Department of the Interior (DOI) leadership.

As parks transition through phased reopening, park superintendents continue to coordinate with NPS and DOI leadership, states, tribes and local governments, partners, concessionaires, and gateway communities to communicate about public health efforts, CDC best practices, and ways visitors can continue to enjoy the outdoors while recreating responsibly.

More than two thirds of the 419 units of the National Park System are available to visitors. However, some facilities and services may be limited. As operations are changing on a park-by-park basis, we recommend visitors check with individual parks for specific details about their operations, including campgrounds.

Graphic featuring urban environment with visitors socially distancing

NPS / Matt Turner

Staying Safe in Parks and Recreating Responsibly

The CDC has noted that being physically active is one of the best ways to keep the mind and body healthy. In many areas, people can visit parks, trails, and open spaces as a way to relieve stress, get some fresh air and vitamin D, stay active, and safely connect with members of their household. Visitors should always research the park they want to visit in advance to ensure an enjoyable and safe experience. Park rangers are on duty to uphold normal rules and regulations and assist visitors as needed.

We ask the public to be our partner in adopting social distancing practices when visiting parks. Whether seeking wide-open spaces or exploring a historic urban neighborhood, the NPS encourages visitors to follow CDC guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and recreate responsibly.

Protecting Our Employees

The NPS issues protective equipment to employees performing critical functions like visitor and resource protection, EMS, and facility maintenance, among others. Following CDC guidance, park staff are cleaning and maintaining facilities to safeguard employee and public health and safety. We continue to follow the latest CDC guidance for risk assessment, disease prevention, and protection of public spaces and workplaces.

We continue to track confirmed employee cases of COVID-19 and recovery. However, we will only provide public information where an employee presented an exposure risk for the public based on CDC guidance. In addition, where employees may have exposed any of their colleagues, the NPS Office of Public Health will work with local authorities and the impacted employees to follow proper public health procedures to keep one another safe.

Changes in Park and Facility Operations

Read a statement on NPS modifications to operations. Please check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.

Digital Resources

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Find Your Virtual Park

Stay connected with national parks across the country with online resources and virtual experiences.

Image of a safety infographic about social distancing

Safety and Social Distancing Graphics

Find infographics to use for promoting best practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in parks.

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Health and Safety

Learn more about what the NPS and our partners do to encourage health and safety in parks.

News Releases

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    Tags: COVID-19

    Other Federal Resources and Information

    Coronavirus.gov

    This is the primary portal for public information maintained by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House, working in conjunction with CDC, HHS and other agency stakeholders.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the Department of Health and Human Services is the lead federal agency with responsibility for public health.

    What the U.S. Government Is Doing

    GSA has created a landing page on USA.gov (Español) for government-wide information related to COVID-19 activities.

    Last updated: May 29, 2020