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Grand Canyon National Park closes to visitors amid pandemic

Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park, View From Mather Point Along West Rim Drive. (Photo by: Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Grand Canyon National Park has closed indefinitely to visitors, joining other national parks seeking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The park made the announcement Wednesday. Staff at the Grand Canyon had been shutting down visitors services piecemeal as the federal government initially rebuffed the park’s request to shutter completely. 

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he finally approved the park’s request at the recommendation of a local health official.

Grand Canyon spokeswoman Joelle Baird said the closure is a relief to a lot of people in the park and to community members. The park said this week that a resident who worked at a lodge tested positive for COVID-19.