For the first time in nearly 50 years, there will be no winter lodging at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.
After a busy and successful summer season, the parks concession provider, Xanterra Travel Collection, closed the Old Faithful Snow Lodge early for the fall season and announced lodging will not be available over the winter.
Rick Hoeninghausen, Xanterra's director of sales and marketing, said the uptick of COVID-19 cases among employees during September was a factor.
"That combined with the fact that the clinic, the medical clinic, closed early in October, so there was a little less medical services available," said Hoeninghausen.
He said day trips will still go to Old Faithful where the restaurant and gift shop will be open for the winter season. But out of caution and safety the lodge will remain closed.
"If someone did become ill, you're pretty far away from medical attention and you're traveling by snowcoach….they're wonderful vehicles, but it's slow going," said Hoeninghausen.
Xanterra will continue to require masks and make sure visitors and employees are social distancing.
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