The Louvre has been closed since March 13 and this has already led “to losses of over 40 million euros,” its director Jean-Luc Martinez said. Among more than 10 million visitors in 2018, almost three-quarters were tourists.
“We have lost 80 percent of our public. Seventy-five percent of our visitors were foreigners,” Martinez said.
“We will at best see 20 to 30 percent of our numbers recorded last summer — between 4,000 and 10,000 visitors daily at the most,” he said.
Visitors will have to wear masks, there will be no snacks or cloakrooms available and the public will have to follow a guided path through the museum.
Positions have been marked in front of the Mona Lisa — where tourists routinely pose for selfies — to ensure social distancing.
France contributes 100 million euros ($112 million) to the Louvre's 250-million-euro annual budget and the museum must make up the rest, according to experts.
Seventy percent of the museum's public areas — or 45,000 square metres (about 485,000 square feet) — will be open to the public.
After the success of its blockbuster Leonardo exhibition which closed earlier this year, the Louvre said its two exhibitions scheduled for spring and then postponed would now take place in the autumn.
These are on Italian sculpture from Donatello to Michelangelo and the renaissance German master Albrecht Altdorfer.
The Louvre has upped its virtual presence during the lockdown and said it was now the most followed museum in the world on Instagram with over four million followers.
Martinez is planning a revamp of the museum ahead of 2024, when Paris hosts the Olympic Games.