Alcatraz reopens for indoor tours after yearlong pandemic closure

View from Alcatraz Island
People look out at the San Francisco skyline from Alcatraz Island on Monday.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Alcatraz, the historic island prison off San Francisco, reopened Monday for a limited number of indoor tours, which had been on ice for more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Face masks and social distancing are still required at the island, which once housed Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Ferries to Alcatraz are operating at 25% capacity, carrying about 150 passengers instead of the usual 600.

Access to the infamous cell house will be limited to visitors who sign up for the audio tour in advance.


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Safety modifications have been made throughout the island, including social-distancing markers, increased cleanings and hand-sanitizer stations.

Food service will not be available on the ferries or on the island.

In August, the popular tourist destination opened for outdoor-only visits, to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Alcatraz usually hosts up to 5,000 tourists a day. For now, that number will be capped at about 1,000.