As the coronavirus pandemic continues to intensify in the United States, as in many other countries around the world, dozens of businesses and establishments have had to be closed down in compliance with social distancing protocols. Natural parks are not left out as they potentially attract huge crowds of people daily.
The Yosemite National Park in California closed its doors to visitors on Friday, March 20, and will remain closed until further notice . The park has been in operation since 1890 and is one of the major landmarks and wildlife strongholds in the United States. Yosemite National Park has always been open 24 hours per day and 365 days per year. They may only be out of operation on days when the snow makes the roads inaccessible. Sadly, the safety of the staff, visitors, and animals is the only factor being considered at the moment.
Recent footage recorded at the park showed its current state since people (excluding park staff) are now completely absent. Deer, coyotes, birds and other species roamed the grounds freely, thriving in the tranquility and free space. This is probably the closest thing they’ve ever gotten to their natural habitats, despite the grave and unwelcoming circumstances.
Staying positive despite the uncertainties
Several national and private-owned parks are still operating across the country, although health authorities strongly advise that every location with a tendency to attract crowds be shut down . On the contrary, some parks have begun to offer reduced entry fees to encourage safe social distancing, but the risks are far too great and leaving any park open to visitors would put countless lives in danger. The United States currently has the highest number of recorded COVID-19 cases, where the stats as of April 15th there are over 610,000 recorded cases .
Right now, the most heroic thing non-essential service providers (the general public) can do is to stay home and shelter-in-place. Medical workers all over the world are risking their lives to contain the situation and take care of the sick, and the only help they need from us is to try to avoid getting sick or spreading the virus . Stay at home and stay safe. Sick persons are advised to report to the hospital or isolation centers, and possibly infected persons must self-isolate and get tested as quickly as possible. If everyone works together, we can beat this pandemic.
- Eben Diskin. Video shows Yosemite National Park full of animals in the absence of humans. Matador Network. https://matadornetwork.com/read/video-shows-yosemite-national-park-full-animals-absence-humans/.
- Katie Mettler. CDC urges halting gatherings of 50 people or more. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/03/15/coronavirus-latest-news/.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public. WHO. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public.
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