During a state press conference Friday morning, Utah Governor Gary Herbert stated, “Zion closes Immediately. If you are there now, you have until the end of the day to gather your belongings and go.”
The closure announcement comes after a growing number of local appeals made it to the desk of the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt as well as the Southwest Utah Board of Health, pleading with officials to temporarily close the park during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Springdale Town Council vote Friday to send letters written to both entities. In those letters they stated and outlined their concerns over the number of visitors to the area.
Part of City of Springdale press release sent to state officials stated, “This past weekend, Zion National Park received approximately 9,000 visitors, 70% of whom were from out of state. Over the last three days, COVID-19 positive cases have increased an average of 30% in the Southwest Utah Public Health Department five-county area. This is alarming and suggests the existing containment and mitigation strategies are insufficient to slow the transmission of the disease.”
While the pleas of city councils urged for the park to close, the City of Springdale asked that State Route 9 remain opened for vehicles to pass through.
The press release reenforced the need of the road remaining open as the road is an important route for residents and communities which provides the quickest access to Dixie Regional Medical Center for some.
According to the order, SR-9, as well as the Kolob Terrace Road, will remain open, but stopping at pullouts will be prohibited.
More information about the closure and what was included in the letter can be found at St. George News.