Following in the footsteps of Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, the Grand Canyon National Park has released updated commercial vehicle occupancy guidance.
According to the NPS:
The following two commercial vehicle occupancy models have been established for the Grand Canyon National Park and are effective May 8, 2021:
Operators committing to have all customers/passengers either vaccinated or tested immediately before the trip (72 hours) will be permitted to operate in the park at 100 percent capacity.
Operators that cannot commit to having all customers/passengers either vaccinated or tested immediately before the trip (72 hours) will be limited to 50 percent of vehicle capacity, or 10 persons (including driver, guide), whichever is greater.
Continued COVID-19 mitigations such as wearing facial coverings/mask when 6-feet of physical/social distancing cannot be maintained and other CDC recommendations should also be in place.
The parameters are the result of a collaboration between the motorcoach and group tour industry and certain National Park Service units, including Grand Canyon National Park to increase access and capacity. To ensure visitor safety, the industry recommended they will ask operators to confirm all passengers are vaccinated/tested or will reduce capacity.
Operators will sign the certification document confirming which of these models they chose to operate under, or if choosing to operate a hybrid model - some trips under the model #1, others under model #2, a signature on the document certifies they understand and agree to comply with the parameters described for each. This document will not need to be sent to the CUA office or presented at entrance stations but must be carried in the tour vehicle and may be requested at any time.
Operators are independently responsible for understanding and complying with the most current applicable laws, regulations, orders, ordinances and other requirements and for conducting their operations in a manner that is safe and protects the health of employees, customers and the public.
Below are COVID-19 guidance for multi-day road-based tours and transportation system operations. The guidance is based on current information.
Multi-day Road-based Tours COVID-19 Guidance (March 24, 2021)
Transportation System Operations COVID-19 Management Practices (March 10, 2021)
Complete 2021 CUA applications that have already been submitted will be issued with an effective date of May 8, 2021 and sent out via email.
If conditions change, Grand Canyon National Park reserves the right to change these parameters or other operational conditions immediately. Please understand the Park will make every effort to communicate the need for the change in a timely manner; however, depending on conditions, immediate action may be necessary.
Special thanks to Terry Dale, president of US Tour Operators Association and tour operator members who worked with the Grand Canyon for this guidance.