Zion National Park Closed ‘Immediately,’ Governor Says
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Zion National Park will be closed immediately.
Gov. Gary Herbert made the announcement during the state’s daily COVID-19 update Friday following news that there are now 1,246 confirmed cases in Utah.
All state parks are still closed to visitors from outside the county where the park is located.
He said those currently in Zion National Park will be notified so they can gather their belongings and vacate by the end of the day. Herbert also asked anyone who’s traveling right now to any of the parks in the state to “turn around” and go home.
“We appreciate the collaboration with state and local agencies and their expertise in steps to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19,” said Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh. “Zion has been carefully assessing our ability to provide a safe environment amid this crisis and in making progressive changes to operations as needed. However, visitors are continuing to come to the park from all across the country at numbers difficult to maintain social distancing.”
Last week, Arches and Canyonlands national parks were closed due to coronavirus concerns.
LIVE: Utah Dept. of Health holding daily COVID-19 update after announcing 1,246 confirmed cases in the state
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Friday, April 3, 2020
“These are times that I’m concerned about more than ever,” the governor said. “The next two weeks are critical. We have sunshine coming, it’s springtime in the air. … The temptation is for everybody to go outdoors and do something with friends.”
He said he “understands the urge,” but noted this is a time for Utahns to temporarily change their behavior.
“How we’ve conducted ourselves in the past cannot be business as usual today because of the COVID-19 virus,” he said.
Herbert said he hopes the increasing number of confirmed cases will help motivate Utahns to “redouble our efforts” to slow the spread of the virus.
He noted that Utahns should eliminate travel unless absolutely necessary.
“If people think somehow that they can well leave their primary residence here along the Wasatch Front, and go on to a vacation home or hotel in southern Utah,” the governor said, “you’re not interpreting our directives correctly.”
Herbert stressed that outdoor recreation is not being prohibited in the state, and he encouraged residents to get outside — just not in groups.
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How Do I Prevent It?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.
How To Get Help
If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.
If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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