The Eiffel Tower Reopens after a Nine-Month Shutdown
(AP) — The Eiffel Tower in Paris greeted tourists Friday for the first time in nearly nine months, reopening to the public even as France introduces new virus rules aimed at taming the fast-spreading delta variant.
Smiles were broad and emotions palpable as the first masked visitors mounted the elevators heading to the top of the Paris monument.
The “Iron Lady” of Paris was ordered shut in October as France battled its second virus surge of the pandemic, and remained shut for renovations even after other French tourist draws reopened last month.
The tower’s reopening came four days after President Emmanuel Macron announced new measures aimed at warding off a fourth surge, including mandatory vaccinations for health workers and mandatory COVID-19 passes to enter restaurants and tourist and other venues.
Starting Wednesday, all visitors to the Eiffel Tower over age 18 will need to show a pass proving they’ve been fully vaccinated, had a negative virus test or recently recovered from COVID-19.
Masks are required, and the number of daily visitors to the tower will be limited to about half the pre-pandemic norm of 25,000. The rules didn’t seem to scare crowds away on Friday.
France has opened to international tourists this summer, but the rules vary depending on which country they are coming from. While visitors are trickling back to Paris, their numbers have been far from normal levels, given continued border restrictions and virus risks.