SANTE-CORONAVIRUS-FRANCE-LOUVRE: Demonstration of tour guides for the reopening of the Louvre
PARIS (Reuters) – Masks with a cross on their noses and portraits of the Mona Lisa in hand, several dozen tour guides demonstrated Monday to denounce the precariousness of their situation when the Louvre reopened to the public.
These cultural professionals, who claim in particular an intermittent status in the same way as artists, found themselves at the foot of the Glass Pyramid of the most visited museum in the world, which reopens after four months of inactivity related to the coronavirus epidemic.
“The government has injected 18 billion euros to save the tourism industry, and there are no plans to help guides,” participant Margot Schmitz told Reuters. “The government is deaf.”
Two demonstrators protested in front of the Mona Lisa painting inside the museum, Reuters noted on the spot.
A large part of the approximately 10,000 tour guides working in France are self-employed or hold short contracts, which makes them particularly vulnerable at a time when foreigners are scarce in the country, the world’s leading tourist destination.
For its reopening according to a studied health protocol, the Louvre must accommodate around 7,000 people per day, five times less than before the crisis, which will allow to admire some 30,000 works of art in privileged conditions.
The public will be mainly composed of French and Europeans, very different from that of the avant-coronavirus, made up of 75% foreigners, Americans and Chinese at the head.
The president of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, has estimated at around 40 million euros the shortfall (ticket office, sales in shops, rental of rooms) for the institution, whose annual state aid amounted to 100 million euros before the crisis, or 40% of the budget.
(Report Noémie Olive, written by Elizabeth Pineau, edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)