Visitors to Jefferson City will be able to tour the historic Missouri State Penitentiary again beginning June 1.
Tours have been halted since March 18, shortly after the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau reopened tours for the season for their first post-tornado season.
Starting June 1, tours will resume with modifications to comply with social distancing. Group sizes will be limited, and 6-foot social distancing markers will be placed in high-traffic areas. Hand-sanitizing stations will be placed around the facility, and staff and guests are encouraged to wear face coverings while inside.
Guests who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are exhibiting related symptoms such as fever or coughing are asked to reschedule tours for a later date. Staff will clean throughout the day.
Due to limited tour capacity, guests are encouraged to purchase tour tickets in advance at MissouriPenTours.com. Guests should bring their signed tour waivers with them to reduce contact during check-in.
Visitor capacity to the MSP gift shop is limited to five, and capacity at the museum is limited to 10.
Tours are also modified this season because of tornado damage on the property.
The CVB offers a few options for tours of the site. The most popular is the two-hour history tour. Guides lead tour groups around the historic buildings and share stories about the infamous riot from 1954, attempted escape and more. History tours are available for guests ages 10 and older.
Guests on the two-hour tour will visit Housing Units 1 and 3, the women's unit and the gas chamber.
The damage from the tornado, which had the prison shut down from May to Oct. 1 last year, has had lasting effects on the tours. Just like in October, Housing Unit 4 — the oldest remaining building on site, built in 1868 — is not open to the public because of safety concerns.
To supplement the loss of Housing Unit 4 on the two-hour history tours, guests will visit solitary confinement and the death row area, previously only shown on the more in-depth three-hour history tour.
The three-hour tours will not be available until May, CVB Communications Manager Brittney Mormann previously said. Access to Housing Unit 4 at that time is unknown.
If history isn't interesting enough, the CVB also conducts two- and three-hour nighttime "ghost" or "paranormal" tours and a three-hour ghost hunt class, where guests ages 14 and older are guided through the prison in search of spirits.
The two-hour ghost tours will also be modified for the 2020 season because of the damage.
The CVB also offers three-hour photography tours for guests ages 12 and older.
Longer paranormal tours and private history, ghost and photography tours are also offered. All tours can be booked on the Missouri State Penitentiary website.
The tour season runs until November.