Eiffel tower

Eiffel Tower reopens after nine months of COVID shutdown

Although the French Independence Day, July 14, is the 14th of July, Parisians and tourists can belatedly celebrate in a special way. The Eiffel Tower reopened on July 16 after nine months of closure. The famous monument had to stop visitors last October due to the Covid pandemic and the second wave of the virus in Europe. This period was the longest that the Eiffel Tower has been closed since World War II.

Although visitors can return to the iconic structure, additional security measures are now in place. First, all visitors to the Eiffel Tower over the age of 18 must now present an EU COVID certificate to enter. These passes, mandated in various public places by French President Emmanuel Macron, prove that individuals have been fully vaccinated, have had a negative viral test or have recently recovered from Covid-19. Additionally, there are greater capacity restrictions at the tower – daily capacity is limited to 13,000 visitors, half the pre-Covid number. Masks are also mandatory for anyone over the age of 11.

So far, the distribution of tourists at the tower shows that foreign travelers are returning in greater numbers than last summer. However, there are even fewer than before the Covid.

“Before the Covid, it was 80% foreigners, 20% French [visiting the Eiffel Tower]”, said the director of the Eiffel Tower, Patrick Branco Ruivo, by France 24. “Last year, it was 80% French, 20% foreigners. And this year, it’s amazing because it’s fifty-fifty. And for us, it’s when foreigners come back to the Eiffel Tower.”

The Eiffel Tower had previously closed for three months last year, at the start of the pandemic. In June 2020 it reopened, although the highest point of the tower remained closed and visitors had to take the stairs. This week’s reopening, on the other hand, gives visitors full access to the monument and access to elevators (albeit in limited numbers).

However, for American travelers, the State Department classifies France, like many European countries, as a Tier 3 country out of four travel advisory levels, with Tier 4 being the riskiest. Their website tells tourists to “reconsider travel to France due to COVID-19”.

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