SUPAI, Ariz. (AP) — A popular tourist destination deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon is shutting down temporarily over concerns about the new coronavirus.
The Havasupai Tribal Council announced over the weekend that it will suspend tourist operations for 30 days, starting Monday. The tribe's reservation in northern Arizona is known for its blue-green waterfalls that draw tourists from around the world.
Tourists with reservations for campgrounds or the lodge during the 30-day suspension can reschedule their trips for dates in 2021, the tribe said.
“The health and safety of the many tourists who visit as well as our tribal members, employees and consultants is very important to us,” Havasupai Chairwoman Eva Kissoon said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. In older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
No cases have been reported from the tribal village of Supai. About 425 people live on the Havasupai reservation, 43% of whom are elderly or under the age of 18, the tribe said.
Tourism is the tribe's primary revenue source. About 40,000 people visit the reservation each year, and the tribe said the spread of the coronavirus and the respiratory illness it causes, COVID-19, could devastate the tribe.
Tourists who already are on the reservation accessible only by helicopter, a mule ride or a 10-mile (16.1-kilometer) hike from a trailhead can stay until Monday, the tribe said. Day hikes aren't allowed.