The worlds most-visited museum suffered big economic losses during the near-four-month lockdown, losing more than €40 million in ticket sales.
Now, as it was set to reopen without the regular flow of foreign tourists, Director Jean-Luc Martinez said he expected the a few lean years ahead as the world adapts to the virus.
“We are losing 80 percent of our public,” Martinez told the AFP.
Some 70 percent of the Louvre's 9.6 million visitors last year were from overseas, and with tourism at a near standstill, Martinez told AFP that visitor numbers would drop sharply.
“We are going to be at best 20 to 30 percent down on last summer, between 4,000 and 10,000 visitors a day,” he said.
The museum has also added a series of new health rules to ensure the safety of visitors and staff that will decrease the total number of visitors.
Here's a look at the rules:
(article continues below)
See also on The Local:
Book online – entry will only be possible with pre-booked tickets and even people entitled to free admission must book a time slot online in advance here.
Masks – wearing a mask will be compulsory for all visitors over the age of 11.
Shake off elitist image
The vast former palace of France's kings was hpoping to attract more French visitors to fill the gap from its lacking tourists, as it embarks on a campaign to shake off its elitist image before the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Martinez, who comes from a working-class background, said he wanted to build on the outreach success of the Louvre's outpost museum in Lens, a poor former mining town in northern France.
He said sometimes the Louvre can “intimidate” certain demographics and the museum needs to reassure people that its collections are also for them with improved presentation, labelling and curation.
Although most of the museum's most popular draws, like the “Mona Lisa” and its vast antiquities collection will be accessible, other galleries where social distancing is more difficult will remain closed.