Three of the most popular national parks in the United States closed to the public Tuesday as a result of restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the Star Tribune, government officials called on the National Park Service to temporarily shut down the Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Great Smoky Mountains parks after good weather resulted in overcrowding at the facilities.
As a result of the high number of visitors and the updated social distancing measures, officials decided it would be safest to shut down the parks until further notice.
“The National Park Service listened to the concerns from our local partners and, based on current health guidance, temporarily closed the parks,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly and Grand Teton acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail told The Associated Press.
The three parks join a growing list of tourism destinations closing as a result of the viral infection, including Alcatraz, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Statue of Liberty, Yosemite and more.
U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced last week that all parks still open to the public would waive all entrance fees, but the decision to close or modify operations to combat the coronavirus outbreak would be left up to the individual park superintendents.
While not all national parks have closed, many have started shutting down shuttles, campgrounds, visitor centers and trails, including Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and others.
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