Great Wall of China reopens popular section to tourists after coronavirus closure
One of the most popular sections of the Great Wall of China reopened to visitors Tuesday, a hopeful sign after months of lockdowns across the country.
The Badaling section of the wall will be open from 9am to 4pm each day. The rest of the Badaling Great Wall will remain closed, along with the Shuiguan Great Wall, the ancient Great Wall, and the Great Wall Museum of China, according to a statement.
To keep the visitor numbers around 30 percent of peak traffic for safety reasons, tourists will have to book appointments and buy tickets to the wall before their arrival. Along with ID cards, visitors to the Badaling Great Wall will have to present a "health code" ensuring they're healthy and will have to have their temperature taken before being allowed to enter.
Visitors to the Great Wall have also been asked to practice social distancing, staying at least one meter (or a little over three feet) away from other travellers and wearing masks to cover their faces while on tours.
During normal peak season - April 1 to Oct. 31 - the Great Wall sees upward of 10 million visitors a year, making it one of the world's most visited attractions for tourists. The Unesco World Heritage Site has been shut down since Jan. 25 amid escalating cases of the coronavirus that caused the World Health Organization to declare the disease a global pandemic.
Across the world, closings of this type have been the norm as countries wrestle with the spread of coronavirus in the public sphere. The most high-profile international gathering to be postponed is the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were set to be held in Tokyo but have been pushed back until 2021.
In a rare move, Disney closed all of its theme parks, including Disneylands in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Paris. Large conference gatherings like Austin, Texas's SXSW were cancelled as the United States began to get a clearer picture of the virus's spread. Other sports leagues followed when the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball suspended or postponed their seasons. And the NCAA's March Madness Tournament was cancelled.
The closing of public attractions in response to the outbreak has been so prevalent that many museums, national parks and theaters began offering virtual tours of well-known destinations in an attempt to ease of the anxiety of those in self-imposed isolation.
The Washington Post