The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will reopen Friday with pandemic-related restrictions instituted on the rotating cars taking passengers from the desert to the San Jacinto Mountains.

The tram will initially open Friday through Monday, with the first car set to head up each day at 8 a.m. and the last car down at 6 p.m.

COVID-19 forced the stoppage of tram operations nearly six months ago, and with the tram’s reopening, officials are mandating new safety protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

These new restrictions include:

— requiring reservations for all passengers;

— tram cars will depart approximately every 20 minutes to allow staff time to sanitize cars between each trip. They had departed every 10 minutes in the past;

— significantly reducing car capacities to allow for social distancing;

— setting aside a portion of each car for annual passholders;

— face coverings must be worn inside the Valley and Mountain stations, and in the tram cars, but not in the state park; and

— passengers must submit to temperature screenings.

Annual passholders will see their passes extended to match the amount of days the tram has been shut down, plus an additional 10 days, according to Greg Purdy, vice president of marketing and public affairs at the Tramway.

Peaks Restaurant will remain closed, while the less formal Pines Cafe will be selling pre-made sandwiches and salads, Purdy said. Socially distanced seating is available both inside and outside, he said.

Hiking and camping options remain limited at the top of the tram, as both the San Bernardino National Forest and San Jacinto State Park remain closed due to fire danger, officials said.

Since 1963, the tram has carried visitors 2 1/2 miles from Palm Springs to the San Jacinto Mountains, a trip that takes about 10 minutes.

At an elevation of more than 8,500 feet, Mountain Station offers visitors two restaurants, observation decks, a natural history museum, two documentary theaters and an entry point to more than 50 miles of hiking trails.

More information is available at

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