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Grand Canyon National Park closes amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Grand Canyon National Park generic - Bright Angel Trail
Posted at 3:10 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 12:33:33-04

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ — Grand Canyon National Park announced Wednesday that it had closed and would remain closed "until further notice" in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has gripped the United States and several countries around the world.

In a statement, the Grand Canyon said it received a letter from the Health and Human Services Director and Chief Health Officer for Coconino County that recommended closing the national park.

"The Department of the Interior and the National Park Service will continue to follow the guidance of state and local health officials in making determinations about our operations," David Bernhardt, United States Secretary of the Interior, said. "As soon as we received the letter from the Health and Human Services Director and Chief Health Officer for Coconino County recommending the closure of Grand Canyon National Park, we closed the park."

In recent days and weeks, the Grand Canyon has steadily shut down operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including no longer collecting entrance fees at Desert View and South Entrance stations, closing campgrounds, some trails, hotels and lodges, tours, visitor centers, and museums.

On Tuesday, March 31, the Grand Canyon confirmed on its website that it was aware of one positive COVID-19 case at the Grand Canyon. It did not elaborate on that case.

Previously, the National Park Service said it was "modifying its operations on a park-by-park basis in accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities. While most facilities and events are closed or canceled, many of our outdoor spaces remain accessible to the public."