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‘No choice’ but to make Beefeaters redundant due to lockdown – report

The Tower of London typically received millions of visitors each year before the coronavirus.

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The Yeoman Warders are facing layoffs for the first time in their history (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Yeoman Warders are facing layoffs for the first time in their history (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Yeoman Warders are facing layoffs for the first time in their history (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Beefeaters are reportedly facing redundancies for the first time in their long history, due to the coronavirus lockdown’s impact on tourism at the Tower of London.

The Sun quotes John Barnes, the head of the Historic Royal Palace (HRP) charity which runs the Tower, as saying: “We simply have no choice but to reduce our payroll costs.

“We are heartbroken that it has come to this.”

There are 37 Yeoman Warders, nicknamed Beefeaters, who guard the Crown Jewels and live inside the Tower’s grounds with their families.

At least two Beefeaters have taken voluntary redundancies but HRP has warned compulsory redundancies will be enforced.

The attraction reopened on July 10, with new provisions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 including hand sanitiser dispensers and one-way routes throughout.

Tourists wanting a photograph with a Beefeater now have to do so while standing two metres away.

Three million visitors passed through the Tower last year, but now it can welcome less than 1,000 people each day.

Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran told the PA news agency prior to its reopening: “We’re really excited to have visitors back in the Tower of London.

“I can’t wait, over three months now, nearly four months without visitors is novel at first, having the place to ourselves, but after a week you want to see the crowds again.”

HRP and the Yeoman Warders have been contacted for comment.

PA