(CNN) – The public can once again enter the crown portion of the Statue of Liberty – the first time since it closed its doors in March 2020 because of the pandemic, a spokesperson told CNN.
While portions of the Statue of Liberty gradually reopened throughout the pandemic, the crown was kept off limits for more than two and a half years until Tuesday.
The National Park Service, which manages the New York City monument, was attempting to hold a soft reopening without too much advertisement in late October to celebrate the 136th anniversary of the statue’s dedication in 1886, said Jerry Willis, a spokesperson for Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.
Willis said the plan was to acclimate newly hired staff to crown-specific safety and security protocols by having them train with veteran tour guides, but that didn't happen.
“People really were excited about the news,” Willis said. He said public demand for access to the crown has always existed, and park officials had been hoping to reopen access for a while, but several factors stood in the way.
Willis said it wasn’t any one thing that delayed the reopening but a series of factors that kept pushing back their timeline such as getting city, state, and federal pandemic restrictions lifted and also dealing with a record-low hiring pool.
“We had to hire people and get them up to speed to effectively run crown operations,” Willis said.