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Yellowstone, other national parks closing after waived fees led to more visitors

WASHINGTON -- A week ago, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt waived entry fees to national parks across the country to encourage people to use the outdoors as safe escapes during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were limited restrictions and warnings for people to stay at least 6 feet apart to protect themselves.

Cabin-sick visitors eager to escape the confines of their homes came in droves, partly lured by warmer weather and blooming flowers. The large numbers prompted the National Park Service to close access to some parks this week, including some of the largest and most visited.

"Despite park efforts over the last week to comply with the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) guidance for social distancing, approximately 30,000 people entered the park daily resulting in congested conditions at popular locations such as Laurel Falls, Newfound Gap, and Cades Cove," the NPS said in announcing the closure of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park last year. "Visitors from across the country have flocked to the area due to Spring Break, wildflowers, and warm weather conditions."

The agency has also closed off access to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks in Wyoming, Yosemite National Park in California and Hawaii National Park.

-- CQ-Roll Call


Detroit police commanding officer dies of COVID-19; 2nd death at agency

DETROIT -- A second member of the Detroit Police Department has died from COVID-19, a Detroit police spokesman confirmed Tuesday evening.

The individual was a commanding officer, though rank, name, age and other information were not being immediately released, Detroit Police Cpl. Dan Donakowski said.

It was not clear yet whether all the officer's family had been notified, Donakowski said. Further details are expected to be released at a later point.


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