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Grand Canyon and Tusayan to host vaccination events Aug. 12
As county reaches high COVID-19 transmission levels, NPS takes steps to address shared housing and other safety concerns

On April 28, 80 people received their first shot of the Moderna vaccine for the coronavirus at the IMAX Theater drive-up event in Tusayan. (Photo/Tusayan Fire Department)

On April 28, 80 people received their first shot of the Moderna vaccine for the coronavirus at the IMAX Theater drive-up event in Tusayan. (Photo/Tusayan Fire Department)

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — With COVID-19 cases on the rise in recent weeks and Coconino County in high transmission status, officials at Grand Canyon and Tusayan are planning two pop-up vaccination events with Coconino County Health and Human Services (CCHHS) to reach residents who are currently unvaccinated or have yet to receive a second dose of vaccine.

The events will take place Aug. 12, beginning in Tusayan at the IMAX theater parking lot, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., then in Grand Canyon Village behind the General Store from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Residents will have the option of receiving either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Appointments are not required. Residents may walk or drive up to the events.

More information about the events is available from Coconino County at (928) 679-7300.

NPS taking steps to limit transmission of Delta variant

At a recent stakeholder meeting, Grand Canyon Deputy Superintendent Brian Drapeaux stated that until more people are vaccinated, the National Park Service (NPS) will need “every tool in our tool box” to fight the more contagious Delta variant; including indoor masking, indoor ventilation, testing and contact tracing.

On July 29, the NPS announced that Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) would be reinstating its mask mandate from March, which requires masks to be worn in all federally-owned buildings and vehicles, regardless of vaccination status.

In addition to reinstating the mask mandate, NPS is taking extra steps to address concerns over shared housing among park employees.

One specific concern is vaccinated and unvaccinated employees living together in shared housing, and the potential for virus exposure.

“Employees deserve an environment where they can go home after work to relax and recharge,” Drapeaux said. “We will seek a solution that addresses as many of the concerns as possible.”

In the meantime, Drapeaux said masks are required in shared housing, and violation of housing rules may result in removal from park housing.

Additionally, guests are currently not allowed in shared housing at this time.

No mask mandate in Tusayan

In June of 2020, a mask mandate was issued in Tusayan; however, the mandate has since expired.

Tusayan Mayor Clarinda Vail said she is planning to speak with the town attorney regarding what is allowable under the law, but for now is observing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s order which prohibits local governments and schools from imposing mask mandates.

However, companies are allowed to enforce mask wearing under the law, and Vail says she encourages them to do so.

“Any individual company that is already doing so, I would encourage them continue, especially until the zero to 12 can get vaccinated,” Vail said.

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