The National Park Service (NPS) on Wednesday  temporarily suspended the collection of all park entrance fees until further notice to aid social distancing. The suspension comes a day after the office closed a number of parks to address over-crowding situations.

“I’ve directed the National Park Service to waive entrance fees at parks that remain open. This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.

Other states and municipalities have implemented similar policies waiving fees to parks in an effort to support social distancing.

“Our vast public lands that are overseen by the Department offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing,” Bernhardt continued.

At a majority of park locations where it is currently possible to adhere to public health guidance, outdoor spaces remain open to the public, while many facilities will be closed.

The Department of the Interior and NPS continue to urge visitors to do their part when visiting a park to follow CDC guidance by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and, most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.

Specifically, the CDC recommends high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, take extra precautions to be best protected against the spread of coronavirus.

Closures announced on Tuesday include Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Everglades, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Point Reyes. The Washington Memorial shut down to the public over the weekend as did the Statue of Liberty.

Updates about the NPS response to the coronavirus will be posted on Check with individual parks for specific details about park operations.

Photo courtesy Grand Canyon