San Jose's Winchester Mystery House to reopen with self-guided tours
SAN FRANCISCO - The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose will reopen on Saturday in a brand-new self-guided tour of the 160-room mansion that allows for safe physical distancing.
The announcement was made the day after California granted Santa Clara County a new "tier" status, which allows more businesses to reopen if they meet certain coronavirus milestones.
This is the second time in four months that the Winchester House was allowed to reopen; the indoor museum was allowed to open its doors in May, but it had to shut down again because of a spike in virus cases. Santa Clara County now has moved off the most dangerous virus watchlist.
“We are so pleased to be able to once again reopen our doors - all 2,000 of them," said General Manager Walter Magnuson. "We have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to share this iconic attraction with the public."
Winchester Mystery House management and staff said they have worked extensively to prepare for reopening.
Tour hosts will be positioned throughout the estate to assist guests as needed, but the experience will be entirely self-guided with educational and engaging audio and signage. To ensure social distancing protocols can be followed, tour groups are restricted to members of the same household, tour capacity has been reduced to meet the state guidelines for indoor museums and the tour route has been modified to focus on the largest rooms of the estate.
Additional safety measures include mandatory masks for all guests and employees, timed ticketing, a one-way linear tour path, and sanitization stations throughout the estate.
The Winchester Mystery House is a more than century-old haunted mansions, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a California Historic State Landmark and a San Jose City Landmark.
Since tours began in 1923, more than 13 million people from around the world have visited it.
Tickets are on sale at winchestermysteryhouse.com/buy-tickets and also include access to the estate gardens.