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Yosemite employees evicted amid coronavirus pandemic

Yosemite National Park was closed to visitors in March. Now workers at the park who have been laid off are being told to leave.
Yosemite National Park was closed to visitors in March. Now workers at the park who have been laid off are being told to leave.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

An estimated 90 shuttle bus drivers and Yosemite National Park transportation workers who were laid off after the park closed to visitors in March are now facing eviction.

The group of Yosemite Hospitality workers were told this week layoffs require them to leave Yosemite by May 21, the Fresno Bee reported Friday.

These are the first reported Yosemite evictions solely because of layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic and they come in spite of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order calling for a statewide moratorium on evictions through May 31, the newspaper reported.

It’s unclear how the order pertains to federal lands, including national parks.

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One unidentified Yosemite employee told the newspaper that leaders with Aramark — the Philadelphia-based company that owns Yosemite Hospitality — stressed that the company has the right to evict them because their housing is contingent on employment. Aramark employees in Yosemite pay about $100 a month to live in shared employee housing.

Among the evicted are people without family nearby, including former foster youths and some older, longtime Yosemite workers.

Aramark spokesman David Freireich did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The park, which had about 4.6 million visitors in 2019, has not announced how long its buses will sit idle, but employees said they were told they won’t run again until January 2021. Aramark employs about 1,200 Yosemite Hospitality workers.

In Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to the south, employees of its concessionaire, Delaware North, were ordered to leave those parks at the end of March.

Ever since the National Park Service closed Yosemite on March 20, the park has been virtually empty, other than wildlife that has come of the shadows to wander amid the meadows and empty hiking trails, as The Times reported in early April.


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