Life & Leisure

Iconic Tokyo Tower reopens to public after COVID-19 closure

Tokyo, May 28 (efe-epa).- The Japanese capital’s iconic Tokyo Tower opened to the public once again on Thursday after the health emergency restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 were lifted earlier in the week.

Visitors can enter the 333-meter tall tower to access its two observation decks. To prevent possible COVID-19 infection, only four people will be able to use the elevators at a time and priority will be given to those with disabilities and senior citizens.

The majority of the visitors will have to climb up some 600 open-air stairs, which have been opened especially for the occasion, to access the 150-meter-high observation platforms, the firm managing the installation said in a statement.

Tower staff, equipped with transparent protective masks and gloves, will also take the temperature of all visitors, and will restrict the number of people who can access the facilities to ensure that social distancing is maintained.

Tokyo Tower was closed on Apr. 8, a day after the state of emergency was declared in the Japanese capital due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Completed in 1958, and initially designed as a radio and television relay tower, what was once Japan’s tallest building annually attracts some 2 million visitors, according to data from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

On Thursday, some Japanese visitors went to the tower on the occasion of its reopening, although the movement of people around the area was far from the usual tourist hustle before the pandemic, which has led Japan to ban the entry of travelers from more than 100 countries.

Tokyo started life under a new normal on Tuesday when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the end of the health emergency in Tokyo and four other prefectures where measures were still in force, bringing the entire country out of lockdown.

While shops and offices have been gradually reopening in the Japanese capital, social distancing measures still in place across the board in a bid to avoid new infections.

The state of emergency had meant all citizens had to stay at home and were only allowed outside for essential trips as well as the closure of commercial establishments and public spaces. EFE-EPA

ahg/sk/tw

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