Calgary Herald - - WORLD -

PARIS French ren­o­va­tion teams aim to com­plete work on Notre-dame Cathe­dral in time for the fifth an­niver­sary of its 2019 fire de­spite the COVID-19 lock­down, the project leader said on Sun­day, as ad­mir­ers were al­lowed back into the ad­join­ing square.

Passersby and faith­ful alike flocked to the Parvis de Notre-dame as the square re­opened with the par­tial lift­ing of lock­down re­stric­tions.

The coro­n­avirus pan­demic “has un­ques­tion­ably de­layed the work,” said Jean-louis Ge­orgelin, the army gen­eral put in charge of the mam­moth re­build­ing pro­gram.

But the goal re­mains to re­open for re­li­gious ser­vices in April 2024, Ge­orgelin said, stand­ing in front of the closed-off cathe­dral grounds. “There’s no rea­son to be­lieve it can­not be met — we’ll have to find a way to catch up.”

The fire that en­gulfed the 850-year-old build­ing on April 15 last year de­stroyed its spire and much of the roof.

Ren­o­va­tion work­ers re­turned to the site six weeks af­ter the pan­demic halted oper­a­tions.

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