Cathedral members eager to reopen amid coronavirus concern

Canterbury Cathedral admits it is now critical that it opens its doors to the public as soon as possible.

The World Heritage Site, which is currently allowing people to view inside its walls with a virtual tour on their website, has been closed since March 23 due to coronavirus.

However, with the site’s financial reliance on tourism now curtailed due to the global pandemic, it faces an uncertain future in the coming months.

A spokesperson for the Cathedral said: “As a World Heritage Site and major international attraction that relies heavily on income from tourists, the Cathedral, even before the UK lockdown, had been significantly affected by the drop in visitor numbers since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in December.

As with all local businesses, the Cathedral is not immune to the significant financial threats caused by this outbreak, and it is essential that we can reopen at the earliest possible time”

“The subsequent closures of the Cathedral, its shop and hotel necessitated by the lockdown have compounded the situation and eliminated our principal income streams for the foreseeable future.”

Picture: Christine Matthews

They continued: “The Cathedral is entirely financially independent and after five months of sharply declining income and with no other income likely in the months to come, we have had to make a number of tough decisions.

“We have cut every level of expenditure possible and, as of the start of April, furloughed nearly 90% of our workforce under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Cathedral is topping up the 20% income shortfall of the scheme to ensure that our furloughed colleagues don’t suffer financially).

“As with all local businesses, the Cathedral is not immune to the significant financial threats caused by this outbreak, and it is essential that we can reopen at the earliest possible time.

“Whilst the Cathedral, as with countless organisations, has suffered financially as a consequence of coronavirus, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and global tourist destination, we are hopeful that will be able to once again attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Canterbury once the pandemic eases.”

Despite its closure, clergy at the Cathedral continue to offer daily prayer for those wishing to do so.