You felt this one coming too, or at least I did. With the recent COVID surges in relation to the Delta Variant, more mask mandates have been popping up in various places and there seem to be more coming in the days and weeks ahead.

Another one to add to that list is this: according to OutThere Colorado, in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,

The National Park Service will be requiring employees, the public, and contractors to wear a mask while inside of all National Park Service buildings, as well as in crowded outdoor areas managed by the department. This new mandate applies regardless of vaccination status and local transmission levels of COVID-19.

Even though it IS outdoors and these particular places don't currently have a high transmission COVID rate, there are people from all over the country (and world for that matter) that come here to check out these places, and that's where the concern comes in for park officials and why the CDC is providing these measures and guidance.

This is a huge bummer considering that things seemed to be going so well for Colorado and opening back up throughout the summer, but the one thing that I think we can all expect after the past 18 months or so is the UNEXPECTED.

The requirement will remain in effect until further notice and will include wearing a mask indoors where social distancing can not be maintained in addition to packed and narrow hiking trails, and other spots where others may be in close proximity.

An epidemiologist that serves in the National Park System Office of Public Help stated that:

Masking in addition to being vaccinated will help prevent the spread of new variants [of COVID-19] and protect those who are more at risk of severe disease. This simple act of kindness allows us to be safe while we continue to enjoy the benefits of our national parks.

Places in Colorado that this mask mandate will effect:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (as well as other destinations managed by the National Parks Service)

These other spots include Bent's Old Fort, Curecanti National Recreation Area, California Historic Trail, Colorado National Monument, Dinosaur National Monument, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Old Spanish National Historic Trail, the Pony Express Historic Trail, Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, Santa Fe National Historic Trail, and Yucca House National Monument.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.