Alcatraz opens for indoor tours for first time since pandemic

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Alcatraz, the historic prison offshore from San Francisco, opened to indoor tours on Monday for the first time in more than a year amid the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. 

The island prison is requiring face masks, social distancing and other health precautions for visitors. Ferries to the historic site, which once held infamous figures like Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly, are also operating at a reduced capacity, according to a Monday statement from the National Park Service. 

“It is my pleasure to begin welcoming visitors back to Alcatraz Island. We have been working closely with our public health partners to align our operations with local guidance and provide access to the island for the first time this year,” said Laura E. Joss, general superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which contains Alcatraz, said in the Monday statement.

“We expect everyone to follow CDC guidance, wear a mask, and give each other space to safely enjoy their experience at this iconic site,” she continued. 

Food is also not available on the ferry or at the former prison for visitors.

Alcatraz opened in August for outdoor-only options in an effort to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. However, it shut down again in December amid another round of lockdowns in the Golden State.

Now, the outdoor spaces on Alcatraz Island will be open to the public, although reservations must be made to take a ferry to the island. Visitors to the famous Cell House will be limited to those who register in advance for a tour in order to limit crowds.

The historic prison usually hosts as many as 5,000 tourists daily, according to The Associated Press. Under the new guidelines, however, it will host approximately 1,000 people daily.

Tags Alcatraz Coronavirus COVID-19 national parks

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