Greece reopens Acropolis after two-month virus shutdown

Greece reopened the Acropolis in Athens, bringing to an end the longest time that the landmark has been closed to the public since the second world war.

ATHENS - Greece reopened the Acropolis in Athens and all open-air archaeological sites under tight sanitary conditions to the public after a two-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A clutch of visitors -- among them foreigners living in Athens -- and masked reporters gathered at the world-famous site -- the most-visited monument in Greece -- which had been closed since 13 March.

President Katerina Sakellaropoulou was among the first visitors to the ancient Greek complex that sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the capital. 

Separation screens have been put up and the sites have been disinfected, the culture ministry said.

Visitors will be encouraged to wear masks -- which will be compulsory for guides at the site -- and guests will be asked to stay 1.5 metres apart. 

Greece is dotted with dozens of temples, stadiums, theatres and citadels from Antiquity, including the Bronze Age Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete, and Olympia, the cradle of the Olympic Games.

The Acropolis saw 2.9 million visitors last year, a 14.2 percent increase on the previous year. 

Tourism is a major economic engine for Greece and has been hit hard by confinement measures in place to stem the spread of the virus. 

The country has suffered less from the pandemic than many other European nations and restaurants are due to resume trading from 25 May, a week earlier than originally planned.