A tourist takes photo of the sculptures at Longmen Grottoes scenic area in Luoyang, central China's Henan Province, March 7, 2016. (Photo/Xinhua)
UNESCO World Heritage site, the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Central China's Henan Province, reopened to the public on Monday, becoming the first grotto scenic area in the country to open amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The world-famous scenic spot will enforce a strict no-touching policy along with online registration and booking with real-names, electronic ticket checking, and facial scanning entry. The cultural attraction does not accept un-booked and offline on-site ticket services, according to a statement from the Administration of Longmen Grottoes Tourism Zone of World Cultural Heritage.
The Longmen Grottoes, Mogao Grottoes, Yungang Grottoes, and Maijishan Grottoes are the four largest grottoes in China. Home to hundreds of thousands of Buddha statues and replicas of his disciples, the work is considered to be the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art worldwide. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the scenic destinations announced they would suspend operations for one month to help prevent the virus from spreading.
To prevent virus infections, employees at Longmen Grottoes will implement a standardized prevention and control disinfection system that includes disinfecting service tools three times a day.
The cultural attraction will offer compensation for virus-related accidents. For example, those who contract the virus while visiting the Longmen Grottoes could be eligible to receive upwards of 100,000 yuan ($14,221) along with tourism accident liability insurance compensation.
The announcement also noted that visitors would receive 50 percent discounts beginning Monday and running through June 30 (except the public and important holidays). Free tickets will also be available to medical personnel for the remainder of the year.
Although the Longmen Grottoes has reopened, the Mogao Grottoes will remain closed, said an employee surnamed Du with the Dunhuang Academy to the Global Times on Monday. But the academy posted a mini-program on WeChat titled "Yunyou Dunhuang" in cooperation with various online companies. Users can enjoy the artistic styles of the Dunhuang Grottoes up close and from the comfort of their homes. The mini-program has received 4 million views as of Monday, Du said.
Scenic spots in East China's Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces have also reopened to the public.