Deputy Mayor of Paris Emmanuel Grégoire said he hoped that parts of the plaza in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral’s would be open to the public by the end of the first half of the year “if everything goes okay.”

The plaza has remained closed in aftermath of the devastating fire amid fears of lead contamination from the damaged roof and spire that would pose a health concern. Grégoire said workers are working to remove remaining traces of lead, but did not specify which parts of the plaza would open or give a specific date as lead removal techniques are dependent on the weather.

Deputy Mayor of Paris Karen Taïeb said the crypts beneath the plaza would reopen at the end of March if there was no risk of lead pollution.

“Obviously this depends on whether the site has been properly cleaned up, but we have been doing regular lead checks.”

After the fire, lead levels at the plaza were up to 1300% above safety guidelines, while the surrounding streets were 955% above guidelines.

In late last December, the rector of Notre-Dame said the iconic Parisian cathedral only had a “50% chance” of surviving the restoration efforts. Click to read more and watch video of two exclusive looks at the undergoing restoration.

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