Duke of Cambridge joins video call with Liverpool business owners struggling under tier 3 lockdown

Prince William discussed the mental health difficulties that come with lockdown today as he joined a video call with struggling business owners in Liverpool desperately trying to stay afloat.

The city was the first in England to be placed under the strictest ‘Tier Three’ restrictions last week, meaning pubs must close unless they can serve a substantial meal, and different households are banned from mixing both indoors and outdoors. 

The impact on the hospitality sector in particular has already been stark, with 75 per cent of tables in London – which is only at Tier Two restrictions – being cancelled over the weekend.

The Duke of Cambridge, 38, spoke to cafe owner Natalie Haywood and DJ and producer Yousef, both from Merseyside, to discuss the challenges they have faced, including the impact on mental health.  

Haywood, who owns tea shop LEAF on Bold Street along with two other venues, last week opened up about the difficulties of running a business during the pandemic, revealing the new rules are ‘are essentially strangling’ her business. 

The entrepreneur, who has already been forced to make 40 redundancies from her staff of 200, said: ‘William was extremely empathetic to our situation and really wanted to listen to what is actually happening on the ground.

‘He was very focused on the wellbeing of things and spoke of the mental health catastrophe Britain will face if people aren’t allowed to experience social aspects of their lives. 

‘Yousef told him that music, socialising and being with friends is absolutely central to dealing with people’s mental health and William absolutely agreed with that.’

The Duke of Cambridge has been praised for a video call with two business owners facing Tier three Covid-19 restrictions today. Pictured (top L-R)  Natalie Haywood and DJ and producer Yousef, both from Liverpool

The Duke of Cambridge has been praised for a video call with two business owners facing Tier three Covid-19 restrictions today. Pictured (top L-R)  Natalie Haywood and DJ and producer Yousef, both from Liverpool

Sharing a picture on the Duke and Duchess’ Twitter account, Kensington Royal revealed: ‘Today The Duke of Cambridge joined a video call with two business owners from the hospitality sector in Liverpool, Natalie Haywood and @YousefCircus, to hear more about the challenges they have faced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.’  

Liverpool moved into the ‘very high’ risk tier last Wednesday, followed by Lancashire on midnight Friday, while Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham is resisting government moves to elevate the region into the highest alert level. 

Under Tier 3 rules pubs will close unless they serve food and alcohol as part of a sit-down meal, while stricter restrictions on socialising will also come into force.

People will not be able to mix with others in any indoor setting or private garden, as well as in most outdoor hospitality venues.

Casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers, betting shops, soft play areas and adult gaming centres will be forced to shut, while car boot sales will also be banned.  

William, pictured earlier this month, joined the call to discuss 'the challenges they have faced' as a result of the harsh restrictions their regions have been placed under

William, pictured earlier this month, joined the call to discuss ‘the challenges they have faced’ as a result of the harsh restrictions their regions have been placed under

In a video for Liverpool City Council Friday, Natalie (pictured) told how vital the emergency fund is to hundreds of businesses and jobs across the city

In a video for Liverpool City Council Friday, Natalie (pictured) told how vital the emergency fund is to hundreds of businesses and jobs across the city

Yousef runs record label Circus Recordings, which runs parallel to Circus events which has been releasing music since 2009, and is now a label for house and techno and serious electronic music. 

Natalie Haywood is the owner of award-winning tea shop LEAF on Bold Street as well as entertainment venues Oh Me Oh My and One Fine Day, and has been forced to make 40 redundancies from her staff of 200.

In a video for Liverpool City Council Friday, Natalie told how vital the emergency fund is to hundreds of businesses and jobs across the city. 

‘I think it’s impossible to overstate how difficult it has been during this whole period, but also how hard it is in the current climate,’ she said. 

‘Whether you’re closed and trying to survive on the support during closure or whether you’re open and trading with restrictions that are essentially strangling us.’  

Royal fans quickly praised William for ‘checking in’ with struggling businesses, and ‘sent their love’ to all of those affected by the new restrictions.

One royal fan wrote: ‘So nice of Prince William to check on the hospitality industry. Its been the worse affected, lots of people struggling to keep their jobs or get the hours they need to keep food on the table.’ 

Another said: ‘Liverpool is tier 3 right now with the strictest restrictions, it’s nice of the Duke to check in with them at what must be a difficult time.’ 

‘Sending my love to the hospitality sector in Liverpool right now as well as rest of UK,’ gushed a third.  

Today the Duke became patron of two wildlife conservation charities after taking over the duties from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. 

The new patronages are with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). 

Royal fans quickly praised William for 'checking in' with struggling businesses, and 'sending their love' to all of those affected by the new restrictions

Royal fans quickly praised William for ‘checking in’ with struggling businesses, and ‘sending their love’ to all of those affected by the new restrictions

Prince William (pictured) has become patron of two wildlife conservation charities after taking over the duties from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

Prince William (pictured) has become patron of two wildlife conservation charities after taking over the duties from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

Announced today, the new patronages are with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). Pictured, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle in June 2020

Announced today, the new patronages are with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). Pictured, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle in June 2020

The Duke of Cambridge, who is now back in London at Kensington Palace after spending lockdown with his family in his countryside home of Anmer Hall in Norfolk, has a keen interest in preserving the natural environment for future generations. 

He recently took part in an ITV documentary which followed him for two years as he embarked on a global mission to mobilise action for the natural world. 

The royal had also launched his Earthshot Prize initiative, which is designed to reward 50 environmental pioneers with £1million to further their work in tackling major problems impacting the environment.