News Release

Golden Gate National Recreation Area Reopening Alcatraz Island

A park ranger gestures toward a model of Alcatraz while talking to a person
A staff member gestures to a model of Alcatraz Island at the ferry landing in San Francisco.

NPS photo

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News Release Date: March 9, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO—Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities, Golden Gate National Recreation Area plans to reopen access to Alcatraz Island on March 15.    

To protect the health of those who work and visit national parks, face masks are required on NPS-administered lands where physical distancing cannot be maintained and in all NPS facilities. With the support of public health professionals, park operations will be regularly evaluated and adjusted based on local conditions. 

Beginning Monday, March 15, Alcatraz Island will restore:    

  • 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.    

  • Access to the outdoor areas of the island, including Eagle Plaza, Sally Port, Recreation Yard and historic gardens will be open to all visitors.  

  • Access to the interior of the Cell House will be limited to visitors who sign up for the Cell House Audio Tour.  

  • The historic New Industries Building will feature the exhibit, Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspectives 50 Years Later. This exhibit recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Alcatraz Occupation by Indians of All Tribes, a key event in the Native American civil rights movement.  

  • In addition, the areas of China Alley and lower Building 64 will also be opened for public use.  

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

The Alcatraz Island site provides space for safe distancing and allows visitors to explore the island at their own pace. Safety modifications have been made throughout the island including capacity limitation, social distancing markers, hand sanitizing stations, and increased cleaning and signage. A modified version of the Cell House Audio Tour, provided by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, includes limited and timed entry, social distancing markers, and some re-routing to accommodate public health orders and ongoing seismic upgrade activities. Personnel will be available at the Cell House entrance to assist with refund procedures. 

Visitors must adhere to CDC, state, and local public health guidance by social distancing and wearing a face mask when in NPS buildings and facilities. We ask the public to recreate responsibly and plan their visit in advance to protect the safety of themselves and park staff. 

Food service will not be offered on the ferry and consumption of food is prohibited on the island. In-person interpretive tours and ranger talks will resume at later date. Park rangers will be on duty to welcome visitors, introduce them to new safety features, and help them navigate around the island. Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on our website and social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on NPS.gov/coronavirus.   



Last updated: March 9, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022

Phone:

(415) 561-4700

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