Eiffel Tower Reopens After Coronavirus Lockdown with New Safety and Hygienic Measures
Visitors will only be able to ascend the tower via the stairs as all elevators will be off-limits
The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors Thursday after its longest-ever closure, marking a major step in France's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
As the world continues to grapple with the process of returning to normalcy, the famous landmark has put strict safety and hygiene precautions in place for tourists planning to visit and to help further prevent the spread of the virus.
According to NBC News, the elevators typically used to climb the tower within minutes will be off-limits to all visitors.
Instead, those who would like to go up the tower will have to climb the 674-step staircase, which takes between 30 and 45 minutes to ascend.
And while the tower's three levels are typically open, visitors can climb no higher than the second floor of the tower.
As for updated hygienic measures, the 1,062-foot high tower has added over 1,300 social distancing markings around the landmark to remind people to keep their distance, according to Good Morning America. In order to ensure social distancing, people will walk up by one pillar and go down another and capacity will be limited.
Additionally, high touch areas such as telescopes and railings will be cleaned every two hours, and all visitors over 11 years old are required to wear masks at the tower.
The tower, which was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, has been closed for more than three months due to the global coronavirus outbreak — the longest the tower has been shut down since WWII.
During the pandemic lockdown, the Eiffel Tower lost 27 euros, or $30 million, the tower's director general, Patrick Branco Ruivo, told the Associated Press.
With Americans unable to visit the country due to the coronavirus crisis, France has been struggling without its usual tourism revenue — a problem that could continue into the summer.
Officials from the European Union (E.U.) are finalizing a list of countries that will be allowed to enter its member countries as of July 1, and according to draft lists seen by the New York Times, the U.S. will not be one of them due to its inability to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as other countries.
According to E.U. officials who spoke with the Times under the condition of anonymity, the list of acceptable visitors will include countries that the E.U. believes have handled the COVID-19 pandemic well enough that their citizens do not pose a threat.
The E.U. has been closed to all visitors, including Americans, since March 16 — with a few exceptions for repatriations and essential travel — and has extended their closure twice in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus. The collective of 27 countries, which functions on the principles of free travel and free trade between the nations, plans to reopen their borders on July 1 in order to boost tourism and business to airlines.
Last month, France started lifting restrictions and on June 2, the country went further, allowing many restaurants, bars, and cafes to open along with swimming pools, beaches, and museums.
Earlier this month, another Parisian icon, the Musée du Louvre, said it will reopen on July 6, requiring visitors to wear a mask inside as well as book time slots in advance. The adjacent Tuileries Gardens reopened on May 31.
As of June 25, France has recorded nearly 198,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including more than 29,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. But France is at the bottom of its curve with hospitalizations and the number of people in intensive care decreasing over the last few weeks, the Times reported.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.