Tourists can visit Alcatraz again — but there are restrictions. Here’s what to know

Maddie Capron
·2 min read

Tourists can visit Alcatraz Island again — but there are some restrictions.

The National Park Service reopened Alcatraz to visitors Monday after it shut down to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

All guests are required to wear a face mask where they cannot physically distance, and park officials are limiting the number of people allowed in certain areas.

Park officials have added capacity limitations, social distancing markers and hand sanitizer and increased cleaning to be able to reopen the park in California. Tours available will be modified and include limited and timed entry.

“Ferries will operate with a reduced capacity to support visitor and staff safety and proper social distancing. Reservations must be made in advance with Alcatraz Cruises,” the National Park Service said in a news release. “Access to the outdoor areas of the island, including Eagle Plaza, Sally Port, Recreation Yard and historic gardens will be open to all visitors.”

Cell House interior tours will also be limited to people who sign up for an audio tour, according to the National Park Service. Other areas like China Alley and lower Building 64 will also be open to the public.

Other in-person tours and ranger talks will not be available and will start again at a later date, the National Park Service said.

Food won’t be offered on the ferry, and people aren’t allowed to eat food anywhere on the island, according to the National Park Service.

“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,” Laura E. Joss, general superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, said in a news release. “We expect everyone to follow CDC guidance, wear a mask, and give each other space to safely enjoy their experience at this iconic site.”

Alcatraz is the latest California tourist spot to reopen. In early March, California health officials eased coronavirus restrictions to allow outdoor ballparks, stadiums and theme parks to reopen with reduced capacity, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Yosemite National Park announced in February its plans to ditch day-use reservations that were used to reduce crowds at the park, according to The Fresno Bee.

Several theme parks, including Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, have also announced their plans to reopen later this spring.

“With case rates and hospitalizations significantly lower, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines and targeted efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, told The Sacramento Bee.