Yellowstone Requires Masks Based on Status of WY Counties

Yellowstone Requires Masks Based on COVID-19 Status of Wyoming Counties

Written by on July 8, 2022

There may or may not be a mask mandate in effect during your next visit to Yellowstone National Park – it all depends on the COVID-19 situation in northwest Wyoming.

While American life has mostly returned to something like a “pre-pandemic normal,” COVID-19 is still a health risk throughout the United States. Three of the nation’s most popular national parks – Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Grand Teton – require masks in all indoor spaces.

The National Park Service says masking requirements vary based on the park and its local COVID conditions. If an area is designated as having a high COVID community level by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the park must enact restrictions.”

Yellowstone officials follow these N.P.S. guidelines – with some flexibility. Rather than require masks at all times, they let the local COVID-19 community levels determine when visitors must mask up.

Masks are required indoors in Yellowstone if the COVID-19 community level in either Park or Teton Counties is High.

The C.D.C. calculates COVID-19 community levels every Thursday. When the level is High, “masks are required for everyone indoors, regardless of vaccination status,” according to the Yellowstone Current Conditions webpage. “Indoor areas include, but are not limited to, park visitor centers, administrative offices, lodges, gift shops, and restaurants.”

Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly says most of Yellowstone’s developed areas are within the boundaries of Park and Teton Counties in Wyoming. Because of this, those counties determine when park officials require masks.

If either Park or Teton County has a High community level, masks are required in all indoor spaces – and this can change daily.

On Thursday, July 7, Yellowstone officials enacted a mask mandate when Teton County was ranked as High. However, as of Friday, July 8, the community level in Teton County has been reduced to Moderate, so visitors did not need masks indoors.

There are other COVID-19 precautions in place in the park, regardless of the current community level:

  • Masks are still required for everyone on all forms of public and commercial transportation.
  • Practice physical distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet (2 m) of distance between you and others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If you feel sick, please do not visit the park.

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