The Eiffel Tower reopens after nine months of closure COVID | Coronavirus pandemic news

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The “Iron Lady” of Paris was ordered to close in October; now visitors can enter after proving a vaccination test or a negative COVID test.

The Eiffel Tower has reopened to visitors after a nine-month shutdown caused by the COVID pandemic, the longest closure of the benchmark since World War II.

The lifts of the “Iron Lady” took tourists back to their 300-meter summit and their majestic views of the French capital while playing a band.

“It’s a gift to be here. We really love Paris, ”said Ila, who came from Hamburg, Germany, and waited more than two hours with her daughter Helena to be one of the first.

“Tourism is back in Paris and we can once again share the happiness of this monument and Paris with visitors from all over the world,” said Jean-Francois Martins, head of the tower’s operating company.

The number of daily visitors to the tower will be limited to 13,000 per day instead of 25,000.

And starting Wednesday next week, visitors will have to show vaccination tests or negative tests, in line with recent government-imposed requirements, as COVID cases are on the rise again.

“Obviously, it’s an additional operational complication, but it’s manageable,” Martins told AFP news agency.

The opening came after France reopened to international tourists this summer, however, the rules vary widely depending on the country of origin. The number of visitors has not been nearly close to pre-pandemic levels, given border restrictions and virus risks.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also welcomed the opening and encouraged visitors to “rediscover the iconic monument”.

Translation: After more than eight months of closure, @LaTourEiffel finds its visitors today. An emblematic monument of Paris to (re) discover!

Half of the visitors expected to be French

Early booking of tickets during the French summer holiday period highlights how the tourism industry in Paris has changed due to travel restrictions.

Martins said there was an “almost total absence” of British ticket holders, while only 15 per cent were American and very few were from Asia.

Half of the visitors are expected to be French, while Italians and Spaniards represent a higher proportion than usual.

The long closure has wreaked havoc on the finances of the operating company, Sete, which runs the monument on behalf of the Paris city authorities.

He is expected to seek additional government aid and a new cash injection of 60 million euros ($ 70 million) to stay in the fleet, after seeing his revenue fall 75% to 25 million euros ($ 29 million) in 2020.

The masterpiece of the architect Gustave Eiffel has also been affected by problems related to his last work of painting, the twentieth time it has been repainted since its construction in 1889.

Work was halted in February due to high levels of lead detected at the site, posing a risk to workers ’health.

Testing continues and painting will resume only in the fall, meaning part of the façade is obscured by scaffolding and safety nets.

Fireworks illuminate the Eiffel Tower in Paris during the Bastille Day celebrations in late July 14 [File: Lewis Joly/AP]





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