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Mount Rushmore, its facilities, restaurants to open Saturday, 3 weeks earlier than planned

Mount Rushmore National Memorial on April 23, 2020, in Keystone, South Dakota. - The steep roads that wind their way to Mount Rushmore are completely deserted. The South Dakota tourist mecca attracts only a few clusters of visitors happy to escape the confinement caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

KEYSTONE, S.D. — Mount Rushmore is opening sooner than expected. The national memorial and its facilities and restaurants will be opening Saturday, about three weeks earlier than previously planned.

The National Park Service’s website says the grounds will be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

“After careful consideration and consultation with local and state health authorities, we are pleased to announce that Mount Rushmore’s parking lot, retail shops, and Memorial Team Ice Cream will open earlier than expected on Saturday, May 23,” according to the memorial’s Facebook.

The Nature Trail and the Presidential Trail will be open to the base of the mountain, and the Sculptor’s Studio will be open. The park service says the information center and gift shop are closed and all educational and interpretive programs are suspended.

The amphitheater, Avenue of Flags and a short section of the Presidential Trail are closed due to deferred maintenance.

Visitors are encouraged to maintain physical distancing and hand sanitizer dispensers are available in multiple locations. Employees will be wearing personal protective equipment that is appropriate for their job responsibilities.

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