The Duke of Cambridge’s wish for a pint in his local after months of lockdown was granted when he visited a pub ahead of bars and restaurants reopening.
A few weeks ago William joked he was looking forward to having a drink, and on Friday he was able to savour a cider when he visited the Rose and Crown in the Norfolk village of Snettisham.
The duke and his family have visited the 600-year-old pub, hotel and restaurant, which is a few miles from their home of Anmer Hall, and William returned to show his support for Britain’s hospitality industry on the eve of customers returning.
After following health protocols and sanitising his hands with gel he asked landlords Anthony and Jeannette Goodrich: “Can I have a pint of cider please? I’m a cider man,” ordering a £4.15 pint of Aspall Suffolk Draught Cyder and a plate of chips.
The duke took a seat in the pub’s garden with the landlords, their head chef Philip Milner and duty manager Lucy Heffer, and when his drink and food arrived he joked: “I don’t know where I pay, I’ll do that before I leave, I promise.”
Concerns have been raised about pubs and bars reopening on the weekend dubbed “super Saturday” rather than a weekday, and the Prime Minister has already appealed to pubgoers to show restraint.
William quizzed the landlords about their expectations for the weekend when they welcome customers on Saturday: “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.”
Mr Goodrich, 65, admitted: “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: “The only real worry is if we have 100 people in the garden and it rains. But we’ll have to deal with that.”
William replied: “I am sure people will want to get out and explore locally. I don’t think they’ll want to go far afield.”
Anthony and Jeannette Goodrich have owned the pub for 25 years and had to close their premises and furlough more than 25 full-time employees, who are bolstered by another 10 or 15 temporary weekend workers, when the outbreak struck.
They were able to reopen partially a couple of weeks ago and start selling takeaway drinks. “We have been doing takeaway beer, which has been going down well,” Mrs Goodrich, 64, said.
Saturday will see the return of their cherished locals, who will have a choice of socially distanced drinking in three bars or the pub garden, where a marquee had also been erected.
Some parts of the pub will remain closed on health and safety advice, a popular children’s play area set up like a galleon will have to remain closed because of the difficulty in enforcing social distancing among the children.
William said his own children loved it, “The children have been in there a few times,” he said, staring at the ropes preventing anyone entering. “They will see that as a challenge.”
He told the staff that customers would have to learn to get used to the new normal in pubs: “We all have to take responsibility for our own two-metre bubble.”