The Louvre in Paris, the world’s most-visited museum and home to the Mona Lisa, is to reopen tomorrow, but with COVID-19 restrictions in place and parts of the complex closed to visitors.
The Louvre has been closed since March 13 and this has already led “to losses of over 40 million euros [US$45 million],” its director Jean-Luc Martinez said.
Among more than 10 million visitors in 2018, almost three-quarters were tourists.
“We have lost 80 percent of our public. Seventy-five percent of our visitors were foreigners,” Martinez said. “We will at best see 20 to 30 percent of our numbers recorded last summer — between 4,000 and 10,000 visitors daily at the most,” he said.
Visitors will have to wear masks, there will be no snacks or cloakrooms available and the public will have to follow a guided path through the museum.
Positions have been marked in front of the Mona Lisa — where tourists routinely pose for selfies — to ensure social distancing.
France contributes 100 million euros to the Louvre’s 250 million euro annual budget and the museum must make up the rest, experts have said.
Seventy percent of the museum’s public areas — or 45,000m2 — would be open to the public.
After the success of its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, which closed earlier this year, the Louvre said its two exhibitions that had been scheduled for spring would instead take place in the autumn.
These are on Italian sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo and the renaissance German master Albrecht Altdorfer.
The Louvre has upped its virtual presence during the lockdown and said it was now the most-followed museum in the world on Instagram with more than 4 million followers.
Martinez is planning a revamp of the museum ahead of 2024, when Paris is to the Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s COVID-19 outbreak rose by about 6,740 newly confirmed cases on Friday for a second straight day, while 654 more deaths raised the country’s total to 29,843.
The number of deaths is the sixth-highest in the world, and Mexico was just a few dozen from overtaking France for the fifth-highest death toll, although its population is about double that of France.
The continued increase in cases and deaths has stalled Mexico’s planned reopening. The northern border state of Nuevo Leon declared a weekend curfew from 10pm to 5am.
Given the spike in cases in the US, several Mexican border states announced that they would establish temperature checks for visitors coming from the US, or require they have hotel reservations or are engaged in some essential business or work activity.
Additional reporting by AP
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