Good News for Cash-Strapped Royal Palaces Facing Staff Layoffs: Partial Reopening Dates
Tickets are now available after it was announced that hundreds of palace jobs were at risk due to closure during the coronavirus pandemic
There was some better news for those who run — and those who want to visit — the royal heritage sites in Britain on Wednesday.
A day after it signaled that layoffs due to the coronavirus downturn were likely across the palaces, the ticket office is now taking bookings for the partial reopening of parts of some of the palaces and castles. Tourists and visitors can apply to have access starting July 23.
While Buckingham Palace and Prince Charles' official London residence remain closed, the Mews and the Queen's Galleries at the palace and at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland are open.
Windsor Castle, the site of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's May 2018 royal wedding, will open too. Social distancing practices are in place, meaning visitor numbers are restricted at all sites.
With the palaces closed part of their tourist season due to coronavirus, the pandemic means that tens of millions have been wiped off the expected earnings this year.
On Tuesday, a statement from a spokesperson at the Royal Collection Trust said that "for the foreseeable future, lower visitor numbers can be accommodated within a five-day-week opening at all sites, with Tuesday and Wednesday as our closed days, but we will keep this arrangement under review."
It was also confirmed on Tuesday that talks are under way about redundancies affecting an estimated 200 staff members at the palaces employed by the Royal Collection Trust. The Trust runs access to the heritage sites across the country, including Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
As it announced its ticket office reopening, the Trust said, "The safety and well-being of our visitors and staff are our priority. Therefore, in line with Government guidance, we have introduced a number of measures to ensure that the Palaces, Galleries and shops can reopen safely and visitors can return with confidence.
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"With these measures in place, Royal Collection Trust has acquired the 'We're Good to Go' Industry Standard mark, recognized by VisitEngland and VisitScotland."