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If cabin fever is already setting in from social distancing, America’s national parks are offering a solution. The National Park Service announced on March 18 it will suspend entrance fees to any of its open parks in an effort to support social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic that is currently sweeping across the country and the rest of the world.
Some of the national parks remain open or partially open, allowing Americans to adhere to the public health guidelines set by the government while exploring the vast public lands throughout the country. It comes at a time when other popular facilities and travel destinations — like museums, theme parks and shopping malls — have had to close due to social distancing requirements.
“I’ve directed the National Park Service to waive entrance fees at parks that remain open. This small step makes it a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors in our incredible National Parks,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, in a prepared statement.
The NPS still encourages visitors to follow CDC guidelines by washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds, maintaining a safe distance between people and staying home if you feel sick. Many of the individual parks are modifying operations and taking additional steps to implement the latest health guidelines in response to the coronavirus outbreak. To find an open park near you, you can search the NPS website and check status updates from individual parks.
If you’re not able to make it to one of the national parks in person, you can take virtual tours of national parks from the comfort of your own home. Google Arts & Culture offers virtual tours of five national parks across the country so you can still enjoy America’s natural beauty during a time when social distancing is of the utmost importance. The five parks include Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida, Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.