Prince of Wales sends message of support to reopening pubs and restaurants

The Prince of Wales has recorded a video message for the hospitality sector, in recognition of the challenges they have faced over the past few months during the pandemic. Prince Charles also looked ahead as some parts of the industry begin to re-open this weekend in England.

“From the beginning of this pandemic crisis, I have been greatly concerned about its effects on the working people of the United Kingdom, including those involved in the hospitality sector,” the royal message began, which comes a day after The Duke of Cambridge’s visit to his local pub in Norfolk.

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Prince William was these to wish the staff well and hear how they have adapted to the new guidelines, which are allowing them to return to a ‘new normal’.

In his message, The Prince of Wales said: “Hospitality connects people and enables them to create wonderful memories with families and friends, be it over a pint of beer, a special meal with family or an overnight stay to explore new places.”

Today marks the first time since March that hotels, pubs and restaurants can begin to open due to the coronavirus pandemic. During those four months, establishments have been looking for ways to once again provide the normal services that customers would be used to and want, while doing it in a safe environment for both staff and customers.

And it is safe to say that many people around England today will be delighted to get back to seeing friends and family in a public space, for the first time in a very long time.

In a nod to the hard times the sector has faced due to the pandemic, Charles said: “I can only express my warmest appreciation for the resilience and fortitude shown by those in hospitality.”

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Pubs, restaurants and hotels have lost a staggering amount of money due to their closures, with some large British chains going into administration (Balla Italia and Cafe Rouge) or letting large numbers of staff go. May, June, July and August are considered the most lucrative months in the industry and they have missed half of that period already.

Businesses are hoping to recuperate some of their losses with people being encouraged to take staycations and to support local businesses. Unfortunately, there are some businesses that will never open again, which the Royal recognised, and sent deepest sympathies to them.

The Prince of Wales knows all about the hardships that these business have faced with their closures. Many of the properties run by his Foundation had been forced to close, and all the charitable enterprises at Highgrove have been disrupted. During his time in lockdown, in which he contracted coronavirus, Charles would have been very involved in the reopening of these operations and also in brainstorming ways for them to make money and keep their staff at the peak of the virus.

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The video message was recorded from Charles’ office, probably at Clarence House, where he has been based since returning from Scotland. Behind the Royal, we see some of his own watercolours, including one of Balmoral (centre).

Explaining it more in detail, Prince Charles said: “At Dumfries House, for example, the closure has had a direct impact on those who show more than 32,000 visitors around the house itself, and also those who work in the bed and breakfast, café and events business – not to mention, of course, the catalogue of suppliers whose businesses depend on this activity taking place.

“At Highgrove there has equally been a severe impact on the staff who look after nearly 40,000 visitors, as well as on the loyal suppliers to our shops.”

Saved for the nation: Dumfries House

As well as knowing from his own experience, the future King has spoken to industry leaders about the challenges they have faced. This is something Charles has been keen to do recently, with visits and video or phone calls being used as a way to find out how things have changed and how places are reopening – while also giving a bit of support.

Charles spoke particularly to Alison Brittain, Deputy Chair of the Prince’s Trust and CEO of Whitbread. While conversations would have revolves around the organisations the Prince Trust are involved with, the problems they faced would have shadowed what many other organisations in the industry are facing.

Before ending, the Prince highlighted the important role the hospitality industry played in the nations fight against the virus. Hotels welcomed a new kind of guest during lockdown: key workers from the NHS. They housed hospital workers who shared homes with other hospital workers or with at risk people, ensuring that they would not pass on the virus if they were to catch it and also keeping them safe from the virus while off work, too.

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Restaurants have also helped in the effort by sending hot meals to hospitals and other key workers around the country as a way of saying thank you to them for the work they do, and ensuring they get a good meal. On speaking of these things, The Prince said that “it makes me incredibly proud to hear of such kindness and consideration.”

As he thanked all those in the hospitality industry for what they do for the country, Prince Charles expressed what many people have been feeling – that “these experiences have been dearly missed as normal life has been put on hold.”

Everyone at The Crown Chronicles wishes all those reopening the best of luck, and may all the staff and customers stay safe.

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