Major tourist sites in Rio de Janeiro, including the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the Brazilian city, reopened to the public on Saturday after being closed for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The reopening of the Christ (monument) symbolizes the reopening of Brazil to tourism,” Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said at a ceremony at the base of the statue.
Visitors will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing, and will not be allowed to lie on the ground — as many do in attempting to get the best angle for photos at the feet of the huge Art Deco statue with its arms outstretched.
Located atop 710-meter-high (2,300-feet) Corcovado hill in the center of Rio in Tijuca national park, the monument offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city and its environs.
Since social-distancing measures forced its closure in March, Christ the Redeemer has continued to function as a religious sanctuary, offering public masses and holding vigils to honor healthcare workers and victims of the pandemic.
Also reopening to the public on Saturday were the Pao de Acucar cable car, which offers its own panoramic view of the city, the AquaRio aquarium and the gigantic Rio Star, Latin America’s largest Ferris wheel, inaugurated only last year in the port area.