Masks to be required again at Great Smoky National Park

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Masks will once again be required for visitors inside all Great Smoky Mountains National Park buildings due to the high transmission of the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the park’s website, the mask mandate will apply to all visitors regardless of vaccination status.

The policy was put in place to be “consistent with (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance regarding areas of substantial or high transmission,” the website said.

The CDC’s website shows that Blount, Cocke and Sevier counties, which encompass the park in Tennessee, are currently considered high risk areas. In North Carolina, Swain and Haywood counties that also connect to the park are considered medium risk.

As of Wednesday, researchers from Johns Hopkins say there were roughly 431 cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks 28th in the country for new cases per capita.

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