Eiffel Tower to reopen on July 16 as France relaxes COVID-19 restrictions

The Eiffel Tower will reopen on July 16 after several months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the operator of the Paris monument announced on Thursday.

The number of visitors will be limited to 10,000 per day to meet social distancing requirements, less than half of their pre-COVID levels, operator Sete told AFP.

All floors of the monument will be accessible to visitors, with the exception of certain areas where renovations are underway.

Only 50 percent of the usual numbers will be allowed on the ski lifts.

The Eiffel Tower has undergone the most complete overhaul in its 130-year history to look its best for the Paris 2024 Olympics, including with a paint job to give it a distinct golden hue.

But the paint was hung after traces of lead were found in the existing layers, making its pursuit dangerous.

The reopening marks the emergence of the 10-ton metal monument from its longest closure since World War II.

It was closed for more than three months during the first wave of COVID in the spring of last year and then again in the fall.

“After several months of closure, we are impatient to find our staff and our visitors with, of course, a strict respect of the sanitary protocols”, declared the president of Sète Jean-François Martins in a press release.

Online reservations will open on June 1.

The monument, completed in 1889, usually receives around seven million visitors each year, three-quarters of them from abroad.

But due to COVID restrictions, he now expects a loss of 70 million euros ($ 85 million) for 2021, following a loss of 52 million last year, forcing him to seek new funding.

“We cannot absorb the two years in deficit with our existing capital,” Martins said, adding that he expected the Parisian authorities “to help us get through this”.

France eased restrictions on Wednesday in a return to semi-normality after more than six months of COVID-19 restrictions.

Cafes and restaurants with terraces or rooftop gardens can now offer outdoor dining, as part of the second phase of a plan to lift the lockdown that is expected to result in a full reopening of the economy on June 30.

Museums, cinemas and some theaters also reopen after being closed for 203 days.

Disneyland Paris, another tourist attraction, announced on Monday that it would reopen on June 17. -France Media Agency

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