Visitors to Shenandoah National Park will now have to wear masks in some parts of the park.
According to a release from the National Park Service, starting on Aug. 22, masks will be required inside all park buildings and common areas in Shenandoah National Park, per WRIC. These areas include park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops, and restaurants.
Masks must cover the visitor’s nose and mouth. In addition, they must fit entirely around the nose and chin with no significant gaps or ventilation valves. In addition, the national park will not accept face shields.
According to the release, officials put the mask mandate in place as the counties in the park move into high transmission rates for COVID-19.
Now, visitors are being asked to check the park’s website before arriving and follow instructions from park rangers and staff.
The new mask requirement comes as other national parks have reinstated mask mandates as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. For instance, park rangers recently reinstated a mask mandate at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
In addition to the Smokies, other popular parks across the United States now require face masks. This mandate is in line with guidance from the National Park Service which recommends wearing masks in areas that the CDC classifies as having a “high” level of COVID-19 transmission.
While specific mask rules vary with each park, they are still required on all enclosed public transportation. In addition to the Smokies, Grand Canyon National Park also requires masks again.
Shenandoah National Park requires masks as other national parks reinstate similar rules
“Grand Canyon National Park has been directed by the Department of Interior (DOI) to use Center of Disease Controls (CDC) COVID Community Levels to put in place guidance and masking requirements to protect our community, park employees, and visitors,” the park service said.
They added: “Last week the CDC COVID Community Levels were High for the first time since this metric was used. Consequently, we were required to [implement] masking for all individuals over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status, in all park buildings and in public transportation per DOI policy.”
Similarly, Alaska’s Denali National Park reintroduced a mask requirement inside federal buildings, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, masks are required in lodges, souvenir shops, and restaurants.
Since our national parks adhere to Department of Interior guidelines, it’s always best to check the individual park’s website to stay up to date on park regulations before visiting.
While masking up isn’t required in most outdoor areas, it’s necessary for national park service buildings and on shuttles.
Currently, in Denali, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Yosemite all visitors two and older are required to wear masks in indoor areas, regardless of vaccination status.