After being closed for over two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yosemite National Park may reopen as soon as June 11. The reopening still hinges on state health officials granting approval for the reopening of campsites and hotels in the surrounding communities, but the leaders of Mariposa, Mono, Tuolumne, and Madera counties have written to Governor Gavin Newsom urging approval.
Scott Gediman, Yosemite spokesperson, said, “We have been doing our best to incrementally increase access to the park. Employees are coming back to work. Everybody is excited. Of course, our paramount concern is the safety of our visitors and employees, but we have everything from physical signs to enhanced cleaning. We are taking as many precautions as possible to prepare for it.”
Friday will mark the first milestone in reopening the park, as visitors with existing wilderness backpacking reservations, and existing reservations to climb Half Dome, will be allowed to enter. However, none of the commercial facilities will be open at this time.
When the park does open, visitor capacity will likely be limited to 50 percent to promote social distancing. The plan drafted by park officials for the reopening also includes:
- Reservations for day visitors
- Encouraging online advance payment for entry fee to limit contact with park staff
- The suspension of the shuttle service in Yosemite Valley
- The reopening of The Ahwahnee hotel and Yosemite Valley Lodge at full capacity and Curry Village at half capacity
- Reopening of the North Pines and Lower Pines campgrounds
These reopenings and measures, however, will first have to be approved by public health officials. Currently, there are no set dates for the official reopening of the park.