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|A statue at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The tower reopened on June 25 after a long closure. Photo: Reuters|
Marking another milestone in France’s recovery from coronavirus lockdown, the Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors Thursday (June 25) after its longest-ever closure in peace time: 104 days.
However, the tower's highest point is still not open – and for now, visitors will need to take the stairs since the tower’s lifts will not be reopening for the moment. It means that visitors will instead be able to climb the stairs as far as the second floor, 115m above the ground – a total of 674 steps.
"In order to welcome our visitors in the best possible conditions, sanitary measures have been put in place, including the compulsory wearing of masks", the official Eiffel Tower tourism website says.
|People queue up prior to visit the Eiffel Tower, in Paris. Photo: AP|
From France24's observation, there were about 50 visitors, mainly French, prepared to make the steep climb with face masks for all above the age of 11. The tower’s management said they hoped to reopen the lifts to the second floor as soon as health conditions permitted, maybe during the summer.
“To ensure that ascending and descending visitors do not meet in the stairs, ascent will take place from the East pillar and descent by the West pillar,” said the operator with the visitors, quoted France24.
“I booked the first slot because afterward it will be very hot,” said Sabine Peaufils, a 57-year-old Parisian with Masha Macpherson from AP News. “This is a real pleasure”.
|People climb stairs as they visit the Eiffel Tower since the tower’s lifts have not been reopened yet. Photo: AP|
About seven million people typically visit the Eiffel Tower each year. Since confinement measures were imposed in March, tourism levels have dropped by around 80% compared to the same month in previous years, Paris tourism officials say, according to the AP.
More specifically, the tower lost 27 million euros ($30 million) from the lockdown that started in March, according to its director-general, Patrick Branco Ruivo.
France has been gradually easing its strict coronavirus lockdown measures since May 11. Cafes and restaurants reopened recently, though in Paris they are only allowed to serve customers outdoors, said PDA.
|In Paris, eating and drinking facilities can only welcome customers in outside terraces. Photo: New Europe|
Eiffel Tower reopens to visitors with strict coronavirus restrictions. Video: France24
According to New Europe, on June 02, France began the second phase of easing lockdown rules, after two months of nationwide restrictions due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Under the new rules, cafes and restaurants are allowed to reopen indoor sitting in the so-called green zones, meaning where the Covid-19 infections rate has significantly diminished. In Paris, where the virus has not been put under control, eating and drinking facilities can only welcome customers in outside terraces.
Over the weekend, parks and public gardens reopened, while beaches, museums, historical monuments, swimming pools, gyms, and theatres reopened on Tuesday, with schools reopening progressively.
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