Rise in COVID level prompts Denali National Park to require masks again

A wooden outdoor sign says "Denali National Park and Preserve"
A Denali National Park and Preserve sign near the park’s entrance in 2020. (Tegan Hanlon/Alaska Public Media)

Denali National Park and Preserve will require masks in buildings and on park buses starting Friday.

Park public affairs officer Sharon Stiteler said the move is because the COVID-19 rate in the Denali Borough bumped into the red, or high level.

“And so per Department of the Interior guidelines, that’s when we institute a masking indoors policy,” she said.”

The state department of health this week reported 193 new COVID cases in the Denali Borough, 186 of whom were tourists. Stiteler said adherence to the mask requirement should help slow the spread.

“We’re trying not to be the no fun police,” she said. “Our goal is: We want to keep everybody as safe as we can. So hopefully the transmission level will go down quickly and we can resume business as normal.”

According to the policy, people age 2 and up must wear masks inside park buildings owned by the National Park Service — regardless of their vaccination status. Officials said in an announcement that masks will not be required in the Walter Harper Ranger Station in Talkeetna.

KUAC’S Dan Bross contributed to this report from Fairbanks.

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