NATIONAL PARKS-CELLPHONES VS SILENCE
PHOENIX (AP) — National parks are grappling with how to expand cellphone service while preserving the serenity of nature. While the plans are a lower priority for the National Park Service during the coronavirus pandemic, officials are intent on resolving the connectivity issue as states gradually start lifting restrictions. One of the latest debates is playing out at the Grand Canyon, where officials are mapping where to put new communications towers. Other parks also are trying to improve communications for visitors who want to use their cellphones for directions, reservations and to even post selfies on social media.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming will ease some coronavirus restrictions later this week. Gov. Mark Gordon announced Tuesday that barbershops, gyms, nail salons, tattoo parlors and child care centers will be allowed to reopen with restrictions on Friday. Restaurants will be able to let five people inside at a time to pick up food. In-person dining is still prohibited. Face masks will be required at most personal-services shops. Gyms must keep locker rooms closed and one-on-one fitness classes are not allowed. Gordon also said Wednesday that Wyoming residents would be allowed to camp at state parks starting May 15.
GRAND TETON PARK AVAILABILITY
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Officials say some lodges and other offerings at Grand Teton National Park are not expected to open for the summer season to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported that the Grand Teton Lodge Company announced Tuesday that Jenny Lake Lodge and Jackson Lake Lodge are not expected to open this year. Many other facilities’ opening dates have been postponed or canceled. The park remains closed to the public to discourage travel and tourism amid the pandemic. It is unclear when the park is expected to reopen.
CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park’s largest concessionaire has announced it will not begin operations until June 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Cody Enterprise reported Xanterra Travel Collection says lodging and service operations will be limited when the company reopens in the park, which is currently closed to the public. Xanterra operates nine hotels and more than 830 buildings and 30 food service facilities and tour operations. Xanterra media representative Rick Hoeninghausen says initial lodging operations in the park will be limited to cabins with private bathrooms. Food services, gift shops, tours and activities also will be limited.
FRONTIER DAYS-SECURITY FUNDING
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Cheyenne city officials say the amount Cheyenne Frontier Days will pay for police officers at the city’s largest event has been resolved after months of debate. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported that the City Council approved a resolution Monday outlining Frontier Days would eventually pay the city more than half the cost of security for the next five years, offsetting added law enforcement burdens caused by its event. Frontier Days is an outdoor rodeo and western festival that draws about 200,000 people each year. Security costs about $100,000 for the event.
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s Teton County Courthouse has been locked since March 24, the day before community spread of COVID-19 was confirmed in the county. Health guidelines have forced all levels of U.S. courts to move their business online, which is a challenge for the justice system that depends on in-person proceedings and paper filings. The new online model has challenges, but it’s allowing the wheels of justice to continue turning. Judge Timothy Day says it’s more important than ever during this crisis that people have confidence the justice system is still working.