Tokyo Tower reopens after coronavirus shutdown

People wear masks as they commute during the morning rush hour Friday in Tokyo. Photo: AP/Kiichiro Sato. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, May 28, 2020, Kyodo. Tokyo Tower, one of the Japanese capital’s major sightseeing spots, reopened its observatories Thursday following nearly two months of closure as the country carefully moves toward regaining normality following the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, Kyodo News reported.

The 333-meter tower closed on April 8, a day after the government declared a state of emergency in the capital over the virus epidemic, though some shops in the tower resumed operations on May 14.

The tower will be lit up in various colors from sunset until midnight on Thursday, symbolizing hopes for the revival of Tokyo’s sightseeing business.

Tokyo Tower Co. has introduced measures to prevent infection, including temperature checks for visitors, face shields for staff and footmarks on the floor so that visitors can keep their distance from one another while observing the view from the observation deck, which is about 150 meters above the ground.

Any visitor found to have a temperature of 37.5 C or above will be denied entry and the number of people who can use the elevators at any one time will be limited to four.

The tower will also open the 600-step staircase leading to the main deck so that visitors who stayed home during the virus emergency can exercise.

“I used to climb the stairs to the observation deck once a month before the closure. I’m happy that I can climb them again,” said Yuji Yokoyama, 59, a restaurant worker from the city of Saitama, north of Tokyo, who was among a dozen people waiting for the tower to reopen at 9 a.m.

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