LURAY, VA — After careful consideration, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt directed the National Park Service (NPS) to temporarily suspend the collection of all park entrance fees until further notice.

Being outside may help relieve stress and improve overall well-being.

As our nation and the world struggle to protect public health amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, group gatherings are out of the question, but from time to time a day of sunshine and fresh air might do you (and your family) some good.

“This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors,” says Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Our public lands offer special outdoor experiences to recreate, embrace nature and implement some social distancing,” Secretary Bernhardt continued.

At park locations where it is currently possible to adhere to public health guidance, outdoor spaces remain open to the public, but many facilities will be closed.

For the most recent updates, please see GoShenandoah and Shenandoah National Park for a list of facilities that will be open on a limited basis in the coming days and weeks.

Remember, practice safety first. Use common sense to ensure that trails and overlooks are not crowded and visitors are maintaining distance (at least six feet) from one another.

Safety First: Public Health Precautions

The National Park Service (NPS) is taking extraordinary steps to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to promote social distancing. Where it is possible to adhere to this guidance, outdoor spaces will remain open to the public.

“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners remain the priority of the National Park Service,” said Bernhardt.

The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.

Following CDC guidance, NPS Public Health Service Officers recommend that everyone should take the following routine precautions:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
    • Wash with soap and water to destroy the virus. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
    • While an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol can be used, it’s best to reserve those resources for work locations where soap and water are not readily available.
    • If your hands are visibly dirty, soap and water should be used rather than hand sanitizer.
  • As always, it is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Regular household cleaners will destroy the virus.
  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Most importantly, stay home when you are sick in order to avoid exposing others.


For more information, please contact

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