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Louvre Museum reopens to limited visitors, new health rules

By
Jean Lotus
The Louvre reopened to guests on Monday with restrictions including keeping 30 percent of exhibits closed and new rules regarding face masks and social distancing. Photo by Christophe Petit Teson/EPA-EFE
The Louvre reopened to guests on Monday with restrictions including keeping 30 percent of exhibits closed and new rules regarding face masks and social distancing. Photo by Christophe Petit Teson/EPA-EFE

July 6 (UPI) -- The Louvre Museum in Paris reopened this week with fewer visitors and new rules regarding face masks and social distancing.

Visitors can still see the museum's most famous portrait, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, but about 30 percent of the exhibits in the Musée du Louvre will remain closed, museum officials said. The museum was shuttered for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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During a typical year, about 10 million people tour the museum, most from out of town. But with tourists from non-European Union countries blocked by COVID-19 health restrictions, the museum is expecting a significantly smaller number of visitors. The museum has lost almost $45 million in revenue since the lockdown, officials said.

"I am very, very happy to welcome visitors back," the Louvre's director, Jean-Luc Martinez said as the museum reopened on Monday. "A museum is made above all to welcome visitors. We have devoted our lives to art and we like to share it."

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Martinez added that about 7,000 people reserved tickets to visit the museum while it would usually expect up to 50,000 a day in the summer months.

France has brought the coronavirus under control, the Santé Publique France health agency announced in early June. Restaurants were allowed to reopen on June 5. The weekly reported clusters have been stable for the past four weeks, the health agency said July 2.

But complaints about how the French government handled the coronavirus pandemic led to a shakeup in the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

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Macron replaced Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, who is being investigated by the Law Court of the Republic regarding the country's coronavirus response. Philippe was replaced by Jean Castex, the architect of the country's re-opening plan.

France reported a total of more than 196,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 29,836 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University pandemic online tracker.

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