Yosemite prepares for possible opening, but with no firm date set and major modifications

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Friday, May 22, 2020
Yosemite could reopen as early as June, but with restrictions
Yosemite National Park may reopen as early as June, but with major modifications, according to draft plans obtained by ABC30.

FRESNO, Calif. -- Yosemite National Park may reopen as early as June, but with major modifications, according to draft plans obtained by ABC7's sister station in Fresno, ABC30.

The plan details how visitors may enjoy the park while trying to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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Officials say the park won't open until California enters Phase 3, which Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said could happen as early as June.

But the park will be operating very differently; the park's capacity would be cut by 50%, with both overnight and day use trips allowed. Visitors would be encouraged to pay admission fees online to prevent cash handling by park rangers.

Rangers will be stations at each of the park's entry to monitor the number of vehicles coming in for a single-day visit. Officials say this will hopefully reduce crowds and help manage the park's capacity.

Once inside the park, visitors would be encouraged to wear face masks; however, it would not be required.

As for the park's hospitality areas, the plan states the Ahwahnee Hotel and half of Curry Village would also reopen.

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Shuttle buses would not run in Yosemite Valley due to concerns from local health officials about crowds of people in close quarters.

The plan says many trails would be one-way, bathrooms would be cleaned more often, and social distancing signs will be installed at grocery stores and gas stations. Food services will also be modified throughout the park.

Park officials also say they are concerned about some of the attractions within the park that typically draw large crowds in condensed areas, like the Tunnel View and Bridalveil Fall.

But it wasn't immediately clear what plans they had to monitor those areas.

Yosemite closed amid coronavirus concerns on March 20. Not long after, Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park announced their closures.

No official reopening date has been released for Yosemite National Park.

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