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Yellowstone National Park partially reopens for day use

| May 19, 2020 11:10 AM

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Tourists entered Yellowstone National Park on Monday for the first time in nearly two months, but they weren't allowed to camp and some parts of the park remained off-limits as part of continuing coronavirus-related restrictions.

Some people camped outside the park's east entrance near Cody and others showed up as early as 6 a.m. to be among the first inside Yellowstone, Superintendent Cam Sholly told The Billings Gazette.

The gate opened at about 10 a.m. and visitors were allowed inside for free. Workers at the gate used mechanical arms to hand out newspapers detailing coronavirus restrictions and protocols to the entering vehicles.

“We didn't plan Yellowstone, either,” said tourist Tyler Morales. “We just lucked out we were in the area.”

Only the park’s two Wyoming entrances are open: the east entrance and the south entrance near Jackson.

The park’s three Montana entrances remain closed. Wyoming has lifted its 14-day self-quarantine order for out-of-state visitors on nonessential business, but one remains in place in Montana.

Yellowstone officials say visitors will be restricted to the park’s lower loop, which includes Old Faithful. Hotels and campgrounds are closed, and park officials aren't handing out backcountry permits.

Sholly said visitors should protect themselves by skipping areas that are too crowded and to keep their distance from other tourists.