Eiffel Tower reopens after nine-month shutdown due to Covid – longest period since WWII

Eiffel Tower reopens after nine-month shutdown due to Covid – longest tourist ban since WWII

  • The world’s most visited paid monument accepts limited visitors
  • Daily capacity is limited to 13,000 – about half the normal level
  • From next week, visitors must show proof of vaccine or a negative test

The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors for the first time in nine months today after the longest closure since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ‘Iron Lady’ lifts are coming back to life and transporting tourists to the 300m peak, ending a long period of inactivity due to the pandemic.

The world’s most visited paid monument, which attracts some 7 million tourists annually, will receive visitors on a limited basis.

The world’s most visited paid monument, which attracts some 7 million tourists annually, will accept visitors on a limited basis

The daily capacity is limited to 13,000 people, but about half the normal level, in order to respect social distancing.

And from next Wednesday, visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination or test negative, in line with recent government-imposed requirements.

“It is clearly an additional operational complication, but it is manageable,” said the head of the operating company, Jean-François Martins, to AFP.

After a final round of security checks by staff, he announced that the ‘lady is ready’.

Early ticket reservations during the summer holidays underline how the tourism industry in Paris has changed due to travel restrictions.

Martins said there was an ‘almost total absence’ of UK cardholders, with only 15 percent being Americans and very few from Asia.

The Eiffel Tower reopens to visitors for the first time in nine months after the longest closure since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic

The Eiffel Tower reopens to visitors for the first time in nine months after the longest closure since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic

Half of the visitors are expected to be French, while Italians and Spaniards make up a larger proportion than usual.

The prolonged closure has wreaked havoc on the finances of the operating company Sete, which manages the monument on behalf of the city council of Paris.

It plans to seek additional government support and another €60 million cash injection to keep afloat after revenues have fallen 75 percent to €25 million in 2020.

Architect Gustave Eiffel’s masterpiece has also been hit with problems related to its last paint job, the 20th repaint since its construction in 1889.

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

The tests are still ongoing and painting will only resume in the autumn, meaning part of the facade will be covered by scaffolding and safety nets.

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