The Eiffel Tower, one of France’s most iconic landmarks, reopened for the first time on Thursday after it was forced to close its doors for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
France was hit badly by the virus, recording 29,731 deaths and 161,348 confirmed cases as President Macron faced heavy criticism regarding his government’s management of the outbreak.
Reinstating access to the famed site is yet another sign of Europe’s slow recovery as the continent struggles to balance restarting the economy with public safety concerns.
Many countries have expressed cautious optimism about the summer tourist season, hoping that social distancing measures and coronavirus tracing apps will encourage people to travel responsibly.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the few Parisian sites permitting visitors. Other tourist attractions, such as the Louvre museum, will remain closed until July 6.
To protect visitors, elevators to the tower’s three observation decks scaling 324-meters are closed, and only two of the three decks are open. The remaining deck, as well as the elevators, are expected to open in later summer months.
Visitors are free to climb 674 steps to the 2nd floor, according to the Eiffel Tower’s website, which usually takes between 30 to 45 minutes.
The tower lost $30 million in revenue from the lockdown that started in March, according to its director general, Patrick Branco Ruivo, and has not been closed for this long since World War II.