Alcatraz Reopening To Recreational Access Beginning Monday

San Francisco's famous Alcatraz Island will finally reopen to visitors Monday following a five-month closure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the interior portions of the prison's buildings will remain shuttered to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. Those hoping to see the cells of some of the prison's most well-known residents - Al Capone, convicted killer Robert "The Birdman" Stroud or mobster James "Whitey" Bulger - will instead have to settle for views of the prison exterior.

"The health and safety of our visitors and employees are our highest priority," Golden Gate National Recreation Area General Superintendent Laura Joss said Thursday in a news release. "We are pleased to begin welcoming back visitors, to provide a great outdoor experience on Alcatraz Island, and to allow our partners and staff to tell the important stories of this unique Bay Area icon."

Reporters view an exhibit of photographs documenting the last day of Alcatraz federal penitentiary on March 21, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The park is also instituting a one-way direction on its trails to minimize close contact between visitors. Ferries will operate at a reduced capacity for staff and visitors.

The island had been one of the last national park sites to remain closed since the pandemic began.

According to the release, the National Park Service is "using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis."