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COVID-19 safety at Arches? Cameras tell the tale.

Arches National Park near Moab. File Photo: Getty Images

MOAB, Utah — Two researchers from Utah State University’s Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism set up motion-detector cameras at the Arches National Park visitor’s center last year to see whether visitors would observe mask and social distancing requirements.

For the most part, Zach Miller says they did.

“60% of all groups, every single person in those groups was wearing a face mask, even when they were out-of-doors at a place like the visitor’s center,” Miller said.

As the crowds at Arches got bigger, though, Miller says the cameras showed it became harder for people in groups to avoid each other.

Visitors could reduce the risk of those interactions, Miller said, by limiting the number of people coming in to the visitor’s center area.

“If visitors need to use the restroom or get some water or grab a map,” he said, “really think about who needs to go into the area, and if at all possible, leave some people behind at the car.”

Miller and his colleague, Wayne Freimund, weren’t able to check every visitor every day. Some days, Miller said, the weather was just too hot for the cameras to operate.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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