May 16, 2020 - Health

Grand Canyon gradually reopens amid coronavirus pandemic

The Grand Canyon

Photo: George Rose/Getty Images

Grand Canyon National Park began granting increased recreational access to select areas on Friday as Arizona's stay-at-home orders expired, following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health authorities.

The big picture: The National Park Service said it's evaluating how to reopen parks and public spaces on a case-by-case basis. Of the 419 parks operated by the National Park Service, more than 150 remain closed due to the coronavirus.

The state of play: The Grand Canyon was one of the last major national parks to close to visitors in response to the coronavirus, and has been shut down since April 1. Commercial services, such as visitor centers and restaurants, within the park are still closed. Hiking trails also remain inaccessible. The South Rim entrance of the park will be open from 6-10 a.m.

  • Parts of Yellowstone National Park will reopen in Wyoming on Monday, but the portion of the park in Montana will remain closed through at least June 1, according to AP.
  • Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is also scheduled to start a phased reopening on May 27, per the AP.

Worth noting; The Navajo Nation has cautioned against reopening the Grand Canyon given that the coronavirus threat remains, per AP.

  • “We welcome the economic benefits that tourists bring, but we are also fearful of the potential negative impacts and had hoped that when the Grand Canyon closed on April 1, the park would remain closed until our positive COVID-19 numbers have flattened,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said.

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