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Yellowstone reopens amid COVID-19 pandemic. People aren’t wearing masks

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national park are two recent parks that were allowed to reopen under the guidelines.

In this May 26, 2012, file photo, tourists gather to view the eruption of Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. Access to the southern half of Yellowstone National Park will resume Monday, May 18, by way of Wyoming but park officials continue to talk with Montana about reopening the rest of the park after a seven-week closure due to the coronavirus, Superintendent Cam Sholly said Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
In this May 26, 2012, file photo, tourists gather to view the eruption of Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. Access to the southern half of Yellowstone National Park will resume Monday, May 18, by way of Wyoming but park officials continue to talk with Montana about reopening the rest of the park after a seven-week closure due to the coronavirus, Superintendent Cam Sholly said Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
Alan Rogers/Casper Star-Tribune via AP, File

Thousands of people from across the United States fled to Yellowstone national park Monday after the park decided to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national park are two recent parks that were allowed to reopen under the guidelines of President Donald Trump’s administration. But the celebration of a reopen was met with criticism and concern about the lack of masks.

Kristin Brengel, the senior vice president of government affairs at the National Parks Conservation Association, told The Guardian that there aren’t many masks being worn.

She said, “We checked the webcam at Old Faithful at about 3.30 p.m. yesterday. Not much physical distancing happening and not a single mask in sight.”

According to The Guardian, license plates ranged from New York, Washington state and Alaska, showing people from around the country are flocking to one central location.

The National Park Service issued a number of guidelines for Yellowstone to reopen. The park has a ban on tour buses, overnight camping and lodging, for example. Wyoming’s gates are the only ones open, keeping people from entering through other states.

Barriers have been setup for protective areas. People are encouraged to wear masks and face coverings, too.

“The park’s goal is to open safely and conservatively, ensure we take the right actions to reduce risks to our employees and visitors, and help local economies begin to recover,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly on the NPS website. “I appreciate the cooperation we’ve had with our surrounding governors, counties, communities, and health officials in working through these challenging decisions. Our goal is to get the remaining entrances open as quickly and safely as possible.”

Mark Segal, who is from Wyoming, told The Guardian that the insertion of so many people worried him.

“What if everyone that leaves here goes and gets a bite in Jackson?” he said. “This is exactly what we’re afraid of.”