SAN FRANCISCO – Alcatraz, the infamous former island prison off San Francisco, will reopen its outdoor areas to the public next week after being closed for five months because of the pandemic.
The island, which once housed Al Capone and George “Machine Gun Kelly," will reopen Monday. But it will be an outdoor-only experience, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the Mercury News reported Thursday.
The National Park Service, which owns Alcatraz, has been steadily reopening other national parks, including Yosemite, Muir Woods, Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Pinnacles and others, often with reduced visitation and closed visitor centers.
Ferry service, trails, gardens and a revised audio tour that has commentary from former prisoners and guards, and includes the outdoor features, will be available.
Visitors, which normally reach about 5,000 to 6,000 people a day in the summer, will be limited to 750 a day. Those taking the ferry to head to the island will have their temperature taken before getting on the boat and will be required to wear a mask. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 Fahrenheit will be turned away.
Masks are not required on the island, but they are strongly encouraged, parks officials said.
“This is a great opportunity. There will be fewer visitors on the island,” said Charles Strickfaden, a spokesman for the National Park Service. “It’s an opportunity to take a walk on the wild side at Alcatraz. There are thousands of nesting birds out there. There are amazing views. There’s a lot to do.”