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The National Park Service is further modifying operations and closing certain areas of parks and monuments in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. in an attempt to “slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.”

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NPS shared in a press release that the parks will be modifying operations “to implement local health guidance.”

Most parks have already postponed or canceled scheduled events and ranger programs, as well as d some visitor areas like campgrounds, playgrounds, picnic areas and other places where people congregate, as well as other facilities like restrooms and drinking fountains.

George Washington Memorial Parkway, Washington, DC is among the parks affected by the increased restrictions. 

George Washington Memorial Parkway, Washington, DC is among the parks affected by the increased restrictions. 
(Photo by: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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For the foreseeable future, many parks in the area will “only perform functions that are essential to visitor and resource protection,” the press release read.

NPS has been updating park rules since the outbreak in an attempt to keep people safe, and active.

Earlier, the park service temporarily suspended entry fees. However, visitors began flocking to the parks in such high volume, three of the most popular parks – Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Great Smoky Mountains – were forced to the gates.

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According to The Associated Press, park authorities struggled to enforce social distancing measures and health safety recommendations from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

NPS has tried to emphasize the importance of social distancing – both while visiting parks, and just when going outdoors.