After Shutdown Due to COVID-19, Eastern State Penitentiary Reopens

Staff and visitors 2 and older will have to wear masks at all times

Exterior of Eastern State Penitentiary.
PHAS via Getty

After a prolonged closure due to the coronavirus outbreak, Philadelphia’s historic Eastern State Penitentiary is once again opening its doors to visitors.

The site opened Friday and will operate Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, guests will have to adhere to new rules regarding social distancing and mask wearing and must purchase tickets online in advance.

Staff and visitors 2 and older will have to wear masks at all times. Anyone who doesn’t have one can buy a cloth mask as they’re buying their tickets online.

The penitentiary will operate at 25% capacity, so people will have to choose a 30-minute entry window when they buy their tickets.

Timed reservations are not required for Eastern State members, visitors with free ticket vouchers, visitors using discounted admission programs, Library Pass holders, or visitors who have purchased tickets through a third party such as CityPASS.

Before going in, guests will have to use hand sanitizer, and groups will be kept 6 feet apart and will traverse the penitentiary in a one-way path.

There will be food, drinks and limited merchandise available to buy on-site, but all transactions will have to be made using a debit or credit card.

Penitentiary staff will also regularly sanitize high-touch surfaces, including all audio guides.

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