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Yellowstone visitation remained high despite virus closure

January 28, 2021 GMT

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Park officials reported more than 3.8 million people visited Yellowstone National Park last year despite the closures related to the coronavirus pandemic, down only 5% compared to 2019.

The park closed March 24 to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and was closed all of April, The Billings Gazette reported. The two entrances in Wyoming reopened on May 18 and the three entrances in Montana reopened June 1.

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Visitation in September and October were the busiest on record with more than 837,000 people in September and more than 359,000 people in October, officials said.

The park continued drawing visitors despite numerous facility closures, restrictions, bus shutdowns and limitations on places to stay, eat and learn more about the region. Employees at the park were handling increased duties with smaller staff to avoid the spread of the virus.

In comparison, visitation at Yellowstone reached 4 million in 2019, 4.11 million in 2018 and 2017 and 4.25 million in 2016, officials said.

Park officials continue to urge visitors to recreate responsibility and avoid traveling.