New River Gorge visitors now subject to federal mask mandate

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 4:43 PM EST
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FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - On their visit to the New River Gorge, the Elkins family was ready, mask in hand.

“I don’t think we really knew it was required out here,” Randy Elkins said. “We just brought them in case we ran into somebody.”

On visits to the New River Gorge and similar federal areas, mask-wearing is a requirement.

In one of the first acts of his new administration, President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring mask-wearing and social distancing measures by on-site employees and contractors, as well as all persons in federal buildings and on federal lands.

Staff at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve say that they will follow the executive order as it’s written while they await further guidance from the U.S. Department for the Interior and the National Park Service. The park had previously been following guidance from West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services.

The Interior Department released a statement Thursday night on the federal mask mandate, saying they will have department-specific guidance in the days and weeks to come.

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