Workers at the Parisian landmark are making preparations to reopen on June 25, after three months of shutdown. It has been the site's longest period out of action since World War Two.

A sign that reads,
A sign that reads, "Mandatory to wear a mask on all the site", is seen at the entrance of the Eiffel Tower as she gets ready to re-open to the public following the coronavirus outbreak, in Paris, France, June 17, 2020. (Reuters)

The Eiffel Tower is preparing to welcome back visitors after the Covid-19 lockdown, but they will need to be fit: because of lingering concerns about infection, the elevators will initially be off-limits.

Workers at the Parisian landmark, which looms 324 metres over the French capital, were on Wednesday making preparations to reopen on June 25, after three months of shutdown. It has been the site's longest period out of action since World War Two.

Managers said they hoped to get operations fully back to normal later in the summer.

Safety measures

In the meantime, a series of safety measures will be in place.

Visitors will not be able to go any higher than the second level of the tower, and until the start of July access will be only via the staircases. The elevators, with their confined space, represent a risk of disease transmission.

There will also be a one-way traffic system in force on the staircases, and all visitors over the age of 11 will be required to wear a face covering.

"To attract people, the most important thing is that security measures are taken, and that's why we're promoting safe distances," said Patrick Branco Ruivo, director of the Eiffel Tower's operating company.

He said that with foreign travel yet to recover from restrictions put in place to slow the pandemic, most of the visitors would in the initial stage be domestic.

"For the French public, this is the moment to come to the Eiffel Tower," said Branco Ruivo. 

“There is a new protocol," said Eiffel Tower hygiene consultant Alain Miralles. "The day cleaning teams will be able to clean all the points of contact every two hours, from the opening of the site to its closing,”

Tourists planning trips to the City of Light are advised to book tickets to visit the Eiffel Tower online once the ticket office reopens on Thursday.

A sign reminding about social distancing is seen at the Eiffel Tower as she gets ready to re-open to the public following the coronavirus outbreak, in Paris, France, June 17, 2020.
A sign reminding about social distancing is seen at the Eiffel Tower as she gets ready to re-open to the public following the coronavirus outbreak, in Paris, France, June 17, 2020. (Reuters)

Tourism down by 80 percent

Paris tourism officials have expressed muted optimism about the city’s re-emergence as a travel destination. Since confinement measures were imposed in March, tourism levels have dropped by around 80 percent compared to the same month in previous years, they say.

“To visit Paris now is quite exceptional, as we of course don’t have many visitors and we don’t expect this summer to be at the same level as previous ones,” Corinne Menegaux, the director of Paris’s businesses and tourism office, told AP.

READ MORE: From Eiffel Tower to Moulin Rouge, Paris landmarks close in virus clampdown

Source: Reuters