Grand Canyon crowds raise coronavirus concerns

U.S. & World

(KPNX)  With more free time on their hands than they know what to do with, Americans are doing their best to keep away from each other, but, in some cases, that means going somewhere many others are going.

The federal government suspended National Park entry fees as a way to give people something to do with many businesses and public places shut down.

This is worrying to the 2,500 people who live in Grand Canyon Village. Multiple people who live there and work as hospitality and logistics staff for the park’s restaurants and stores are concerned that an influx of people to the park will bring the virus to a place that could not handle an outbreak.

Lani Strange, a bartender at the El Tovar Hotel, says that many who live inside the park’s gates live in dormitory-style buildings through which many illnesses spread quickly. 

COVID-19 would be no different, she said.

Collin Smith is married to a park employee, and he’s also at higher risk from the coronavirus than others. With diabetes and high blood pressure, Smith worries that any medical emergency within the park could put a major burden on already scarce medical resources.

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