Eiffel Tower reopens today after its longest closure since WWII

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(CBS NEWS) – The Eiffel Tower reopened to visitors on Thursday after its longest closure since World War II. Paris’ iconic landmark closed in mid-March as part of efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus

France’s tourism industry began opening back up last week, but the 1,063-foot tall tower didn’t immediately reopen.

Tickets for the tower became available last week. From June 25 to 30, visitors will only be able to take the stairs, the official Eiffel Tower tourism website says. There are 674 steps to the second level.

The elevator is expected to become available on July 1, but the number of passengers onboard will be limited, the site reads.

“In order to welcome our visitors in the best possible conditions, sanitary measures have been put in place, including the compulsory wearing of masks,” the site says.

The top floor of the tower will open later this summer, “depending on how the situation evolves,” the site reads.

Everyone over 11 years old will be required to wear face masks, and crowd control measures will be in place, according to the Associated Press. 

“We are optimistic that visitor numbers will pick up, even if it will likely be local tourists who visit the monument in the first weeks,” Victoria Klahr, the spokeswoman for the tower’s management, told the AP.

Some seven million people typically visit the Eiffel Tower each year. Since confinement measures were imposed in March, tourism levels have dropped by around 80% compared to the same month in previous years, Paris tourism officials say, according to the AP. 

The management company reckons it lost $30 million while the tower was closed.

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