COVID Passes Will Be Required As Of Next Week When The Eiffel Tower Reopens

PARIS — The Eiffel Tower greeted tourists for the first time in over nine months on Friday, with “Welcome” signs in various languages, reopening to the public even as France implements new viral laws aimed at controlling the fast-spreading delta strain.

As the first disguised visitors boarded the lifts to the top of the Paris monument, their smiles were wide and their emotions were obvious.

“It’s such a great location with lovely people…and now the amazing Tour Eiffel,” German visitor Ila Mires remarked, referring to the tower’s French name. She arrived with her 19-year-old daughter, who is about to begin her studies in Amsterdam. Mires described seeing the tower on their last day in Paris as “such a gift to mother and daughter.”

As France faced its second pandemic viral spike in October, the “Iron Lady” of Paris was ordered closed, and it remained closed for restorations even after other French tourist attractions reopened last month.

The reopening of the tower comes four days after President Emmanuel Macron proposed additional measures aimed at preventing a fourth wave, including required vaccines for health professionals and COVID-19 permits for restaurants, tourist attractions, and other places.

Beginning Wednesday, all tourists over the age of 18 who visit the Eiffel Tower will be required to present a pass proving they have been completely vaccinated, have a negative viral test, or have recently recovered from COVID-19.

The number of daily visitors to the tower will be limited to roughly half of the pre-pandemic norm of 25,000. Masks will be needed.

On Friday, the regulations didn’t appear to deter the throngs.

As families, couples, and groups lined up or posed for photographs beneath the tower, the words “Bienvenue – Welcome – Wilkommen – Bienvenido” flashed on a screen.

“We toiled, toiled, toiled” (for this day). And I was overjoyed when I spotted my first guest. “Emotion and happiness,” said Patrick Branco Ruivo, director of the Eiffel Tower.

“Before COVID, there were 80% foreigners and 20% French. Last year, there were 80% French and 20% foreigners. It’s even better this year since it’s fifty-fifty. And it’s also the time of year when international visitors return to the Eiffel Tower,” he explained.

This summer, France opened its doors to international tourists, but the laws differ depending on which country they are visiting. While visitors are returning to Paris in small numbers, considering the ongoing border restrictions and virus concerns, their numbers are much below usual.

Philippe Duval of Bordeaux and his family loved the vista as they gazed over the beautiful French city.

Duval, who was among the first to reach the tower’s top-floor viewing deck, said, “It’s an event we didn’t want to miss.” “What more can you ask for than to stand on top of the world’s most magnificent city?”

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