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The second in line to the throne is backing Britain’s hospitality industry as boozers in England prepare to open after more than three months of lockdown, with today being dubbed Super Saturday.
The royal went to the Rose & Crown in Snettisham, Norfolk, around six miles from his country home, Anmer Hall, and savoured his first cider at a pub since the coronavirus lockdown.
The 600-year-old inn, hotel and restaurant is one of several locals he and Kate have visited.
Anthony and Jeannette Goodrich, landlords of the pub for 25 years, are preparing for the big reopening after having to close completely with more than 25 fulltime employees being furloughed.
Teens They were able to reopen partially a couple of weeks ago and start selling takeaway drinks, with Jeannette, 64, saying: “That has been going down well.”
But they are ready for the big return with a choice of socially distanced drinking in three bars or the garden, where there is a marquee.
William, 38, who has been a cider drinker since his teens, tested the process customers face from today.
He was asked to cleanse his hands in sanitiser gel before ordering a pint of Aspall Suffolk Draught Cyder, plus a plate of chips, that was then delivered to him at a table in the garden.
The idea was that he would pay for them at the bar but, like the plan for him to undergo a temperature test under the system in place from today, it was somehow forgotten. He joked: “I don’t know where I pay, I’ll do that before I leave, I promise.”
William sat with the landlords plus head chef Philip Milner plus duty manager Lucy Heffer, asking them how they had got through the past three months and what they expected when pubs reopened.
The future King predicted that people would want to get down to their locals in numbers but is worried that it could get chaotic. He said: “It could end up with everyone at the pub because people just want a change of scene, being at home for so long.
“Are you worried about people getting a bit out of hand this weekend? I guess it’s more of a problem with the larger pub chains.”
Anthony, 65, said: “We are a bit concerned but we are ready for it.”
He told the Duke that it was part of the business to be prepared for rowdy behaviour, adding: “The only real worry is if we have 100 people in the garden and it rains. But we’ll have to deal with that.”
Some parts of the pub will have to remain closed, however.
On health and safety advice, a popular children’s play area set up like a galleon will have to remain shut because of the difficulty in enforcing social distancing among the children. William said his own children loved that area. He explained: “They have been in there a few times. They see that as a challenge.”
He told the staff that customers would have to learn to get used to the new normal in pubs, stressing: “We all have to take responsibility for our own two-metre bubble.”
Prince Charles has paid tribute to Britain’s pubs and hospitality industry in a rallying message.
He said: “The past weeks and months have been exceptionally difficult for everybody working in the hospitality sector – from people in the restaurant and pub industries, which make Britain famous worldwide, to those providing accommodation for millions of visitors each year.
“Hospitality plays a crucial part in our country’s economic health and is often described as the lifeblood of the economy.
“It employs millions of people and offers many young people, aged 18 to 24, their first job opportunity – a vital and much-needed step into the world of work.
“It is exceptionally welcome news that hotels, restaurants and pubs are to begin opening. Hospitality connects people and enables them to create wonderful memories with families and friends, be it over a pint of beer, a special meal or an overnight stay to explore new places.
“I only pray we can begin to rebuild a vital industry and that the wonderful entrepreneurial spirit I come across so often can help secure brighter times ahead.”
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