The Louvre reopens to limited visitors

The Louvre reopens to limited visitors
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Paris’s Louvre Museum reopened at limited capacity Monday after a four-month lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The reopened Louvre requires face masks and reservations, but tour guides were eager to return to work, The Associated Press reported, with dozens of guides forming a line and holding prints of the “Mona Lisa” to draw attention to the economic hardship the lockdown had inflicted on their profession.

“My whole season collapsed. There is no one around. It’s very dramatic,” tour guide Besnard Rousseau told the AP. “To live in Paris and not be able to guide is horribly frustrating. I really miss it.”

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The famed museum has reportedly reopened about 70 percent of its space, or about 484,000 square feet.

“It’s very emotional for all the teams that have prepared this reopening,” museum director Jean-Luc Martinez told the AP.

The reopening may not mark the end of the museum’s financial troubles, however; the bulk of its tourists are from the U.S., but Americans are barred from entering the European Union due to coronavirus spikes. Martinez projected reopening day numbers around 7,000 people, only a fraction of the 50,000 peak the museum could expect during a normal day in the high-traffic summer months.

Paris’s Rodin Museum, which exhibits works by the sculptor, expects a similar drop in visits because of its reliance on American tourism. The museum had expected a profit of about 1.4 million euros in 2020 but now expects to see a drop of up to 80 percent from its normal 2,500 visitors a day, for a loss of 3 million euros this year.

The museum is exploring the possibility of selling limited-edition bronzes of some Rodin works to make up the financial losses, according to the AP.