Pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5(a)(2) the George Washington Memorial Parkway is implementing a temporary restriction on activities within park areas for the maintenance of public health and safety. The order effectuating this temporary closure will remain in place from July 28, 2021, until it is modified, revoked, or superseded.
As stated in E.O. 13991, it is the policy of the Administration to halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) by relying on the best available data and science-based public health measures. Such measures include wearing masks when around others, physical distancing, and other related precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On January 24, 2021, the Office of Management and Budget issued M-21-15, COVID-19 Safe Federal Workplace: Agency Model Safety Principles to provide guidance to federal agencies on implementing E.O. 13991. M-21-15 contains model safety principles that apply CDC guidelines related to mask-wearing and physical distancing to the federal workplace and are designed to be used by federal agencies as a starting point for updating their COVID-19 workplace safety plans.
On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. The Department of the Interior’s current COVID-19 policy incorporates CDC guidance. The latest CDC guidance states:
Wear a mask in public indoor settings if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
Accordingly, after reviewing state/territory transmission rates and visitor-use patterns in the George Washington Memorial Parkway, I have determined that, all individuals over the age of two must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking, in the following locations:
when using or occupying federal facilities. This would include all buildings owned, rented or leased by the National Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops and restaurants.
The park will adaptively manage for each of the three jurisdictions (Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia) based upon the best available information from the CDC.
Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.
Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals must comply with all orders regarding masks issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Park staff should not ask visitors whether or not they have been vaccinated.
This temporary activity restriction is not of a nature, magnitude, or duration that will result in a significant alteration in the park’s public use pattern; will not adversely affect the park’s natural, aesthetic, scenic, or cultural values; will not require significant modification to the park’s resource management objectives; and is not of a highly controversial nature. Accordingly, the National Park Service has determined that publication of this temporary restriction as rulemaking in the Federal Register is not required under 36 CFR 1.5(c). This determination is consistent with hundreds of earlier partial or temporary closures, the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor, and judicial adjudications that have upheld other NPS closures and public use limitations. Spiegel v. Babbitt, 855 F. Supp. 402 (D.D.C. 1994) affd in part w/o op. 56 F. 3d 1531 (D.C. Cir. 1995), reported in full, 1995 US App. Lexis 15200 (D.C. Cir. May 31, 1995); ANSWER Coalition v. Norton, No. 05-0071, (D.D.C. January 18, 2005), Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-1715 (D.D.C. August 22, 2002), plaintiff’s emergency motion for appeal for injunction pending appealed denied Mahoney v. Norton, No. 02-5275 (D.C. Cir. September 9, 2002) (per curium); Picciotto v. United States, No. 99-2113 (D.D.C. August 6, 1999); Picciotto v. Lujan, No. 90-1261 (D.D.C. May 30, 1990) Picciotto v. Hodel, No. 87-3290 (D.D.C. December 7, 1987).
Pursuant to 36 CFR 1.7, the public will be notified of this temporary activity restriction through signs posted at conspicuous locations in the affected park areas and by posting information on the park’s public-facing website.
Approval: Charles Cuvelier, Superintendent
Date: July 28, 2021