National Park Service spokesperson Jerry Willis said in a statement Tuesday that as of 16 May 2019 commercial tours will no longer be permitted inside the Statue of Liberty Museum, the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, or the pedestal observation level of the statue.
"Commercial guided tours add to the congestion in these identified areas and prevent the free flow of visitor movement and impact public programs and the visitor experience. The restrictions were put in place as a necessary response to the 600% increase in commercial tours over the last 10 years. This massive increase has resulted in the need to alleviate the mounting overcrowding and conflicts with National Park Service programming and operations."
The Statue of Liberty received more than 4M visitors in 2018.
The new commercial tour restrictions coincide with the opening of a new museum on Liberty Island.
Individuals with ferry tickets can still visit free, and take advantage of free tours conducted by park rangers.
Unsurprisingly, the Guides Association of NYC opposes the new restrictions.