(CNN) – If you want to visit any of the national parks in the United States, there is an essential item that you cannot miss: masks.
As a sign that not even natural spaces are free from the reach of the delta variant of the coronavirus, the National Park Service (NPS) announced Monday that it will immediately apply the mask regulations.
Visitors, employees, and contractors are now required to wear a mask inside all NPS buildings and even in crowded outdoor locations. This applies regardless of vaccination status or levels of transmission within the community.
The NPS said it is following the latest science and guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Visitors to the national parks come from across the country, if not around the world,” NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge said in a news release.
“Because of this, and recognizing that most of the United States is currently in substantial or high transmission categories, we are implementing a mask requirement throughout the service to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors.”
Politics renews a mask use mandate issued in February by the National Park Service.
NPS: get vaccinated and enjoy
This requirement will be in effect until further notice, the NPS said. It applies “to all NPS buildings and public transportation systems. It also applies to outdoor spaces where physical distance cannot be maintained, such as narrow or crowded walkways and overlooks.”
“Being vaccinated is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of the coronavirus,” said Captain Maria Said, an epidemiologist with the NPS Office of Public Health and a member of the Commissioned Body of the United States Public Health Service.
“Wearing masks, in addition to vaccination, will help prevent the spread of new variants and protect those most at risk of serious illness. This simple act of kindness allows us to be safe while still enjoying the benefits of our national parks, “he added.
Big attendance at parks this summer
As the 2021 summer travel season unfolded, Americans flocked to the parks.
The Arches National Park, in Utah, it was one of the main parks that experienced a significant saturation. The influx of visitors forced the park to temporarily close its doors almost daily.
Potential visitors to bigger-name parks, such as Yellowstone and Yosemite, were encouraged to try less popular parks to avoid crowds, long waits, and the possibility of being turned away.
The CDC states that outdoor activities they are still the safest option, especially if you continue to maintain a distance of two meters from people you do not live with.
Activities like hiking in uncrowded areas and roasting marshmallows by a fire are still considered less risky ways to spend free time.