(KUTV) — Yellowstone National Park announced Wednesday that it will reopen on a limited basis on Monday, May 18.
Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, the park has been closed to visitors since March 24 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was great to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence to Yellowstone National Park and First Lady Melania Trump to Grand Teton National Park last year. These are incredible places that are special to the American public. I appreciate Superintendent Cam Sholly and Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail for working with Governor Gordon and health officials to make the parks accessible to the public," said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.
According to a press release, Yellowstone has outlined a three-phased plan that initially opens the South and East entrances of Wyoming and limits visitors' travel to the lower loop of the park. The lower loop allows visitors to access Lake, Canyon, Norris, Old Faithful, West Thumb, and Grant Village.
This limited opening approach will accomplish three objectives in the short term:
The park will actively monitor changing conditions (in the park and in surrounding counties); and will maintain flexibility to expand, adjust, or contract operations as conditions warrant.
What will be open beginning May 18?
What will remain closed until later phases of the plan?
Visitors should come prepared and follow all CDC and local health guidance by practicing good hygiene and social distancing. Face coverings are recommended where social distancing is not possible. The CDC has provided specific guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities.