Update for issuing 2021 CUAs
Please read the letter from Grand Canyon National Park's Superintendent sent to 2020 CUA holders on the Park's plan for issuing CUAs for 2021:
"Dear Commercial Use Authorization holder:
As stated in the letter that was sent to you dated June 10, 2020, l paused additional access to Grand Canyon National Park for Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) holders to further review the developing situation of increasing cases of COVID-19 here at Grand Canyon National Park, northern Arizona, the State, and the County. In the letter I sent you dated September 18, 2020, I allowed Backpacking and/or Day Hiking CUA holders in addition to the CUA holders who were already operating in the Park after the pause. This amounted to 87 companies holding 106 CUAs providing a variety of services to the Park.
In light of the fact that we are still in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic and conditions have not improved, I have decided to maintain the pause and thus not allow additional commercial operations in the Park. What this means for the 2021 calendar year is that I will allow the continued access to Grand Canyon National Park for the 87 companies currently operating in the Park. However, this is not an extension of their 2020 CUA. These companies must submit a 2021 CUA application, updated COVID- 19 Mitigation Plan, and payment for all related fees. Additionally, these companies may only apply for services they are currently providing.
This decision was not made lightly. We have consulted with the NPS Public Health Officer and CUA Program Managers to evaluate an equitable and safe way to balance providing recreational services to Park visitors while complying with federal, state, and local provisions designed to slow the spread of COVlD-19. My top priority is the health and safety of visitors, Park staff; and the community.
As the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course, operational conditions within the park are subject to change. This could include closures, changes in operational hours, availability of facilities, suspension or further modification of CUA activities, etc. We will notify all CUA holders of any changes in operations in writing. Should the situation improve, we will reevaluate authorizing additional CUAs. The Commercial Services Division will contact these 87 companies with instructions for the 2021 season.
The Adaptive Operation Team and I meet weekly to evaluate the status of COVID-19 and look forward to expanding commercial services in Grand Canyon National Park when it becomes safe to do so. Please contact the Permit Office via email with any questions."
Authorized CUA holders must comply with the following conditions:
- Group sizes must not exceed 10 people. That number includes the driver/guide/company employees in the vehicle.
- Operational conditions within the park are subject to change. This could include closures, changes in operational hours, availability of facilities, suspension or further modification of CUA activities, etc.
- A COVID-19 Mitigation Plan must be developed and submitted to the Commercial Permits Office for review. Plans must incorporate any applicable guidelines from: CDC; OSHA; FDA; and state and local governments. There is no specific format for your COVID-19 Mitigation Plan.
- After the COVID-19 Mitigation Plan has been reviewed for compliance with CDC, OSHA, FDA, and state and local governments, and depending on local conditions, the Commercial Services Permit Office will provide written acknowledgement of the plan to the CUA applicant. All plans will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.
- Commercial services providers must have, as part of the COVID-19 Mitigation Plan, procedures for discontinuing services or activities; shutting down facilities, equipment and services; and conducting appropriate decontamination cleaning should the need arise. Commercial Service providers may also be asked to coordinate with the Office of Public Health to conduct exposure tracing and the quarantining/isolating of individuals.
- Each CUA applicant will be required to have their COVID-19 Mitigation Plan and the CUA permit in the vehicle at all times when operating inside the park and available upon request.
- Authorized group sizes have been temporarily modified to 10 or less, including the driver/guide and any employees. Grand Canyon National Park does not have a time frame on when CUA group sizes will be increased.
- The CUA holder is responsible for implementing its COVID-19 Mitigation Plan for its employees and customers and taking appropriate actions so that their COVID-19 Mitigation Plan procedures are followed. If not, the group could be asked to leave the park and the CUA permit for that company could be suspended or revoked based on 36 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 1.5.
- The Park’s shuttle system will not be in operation so please adjust your itinerary to account for this.
- Parking will likely be a challenge. Make sure all drivers are properly and correctly parked. Do not cut corners and park in an inappropriate area “for just a few minutes”.