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Prince William and Kate Middleton visit small businesses in 1st outing since pandemic began

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a British bakery and garden center that have reopened after coronavirus lockdown restrictions were lifted.
/ Source: TODAY

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are back among the people now that lockdown restrictions have been eased for non-essential businesses in Britain.

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge made separate visits to independent businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, marking their first appearances in a public venue since the pandemic began in March.

There have been 300,469 coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom and 42,288 deaths, according to the Department of Health.

William visited Smiths the Bakers in King's Lynn in Norfolk, England, on Friday morning to see how the bakery is faring after 11 weeks of being closed. The family-run business has been open for 50 years and has weathered 80% of its wholesale customers closing their operations, resulting in several staff members being furloughed.

Like many businesses, the bakery has pivoted its focus during the pandemic by offering delivery and selling new products to meet the surging demand for flour and sugar for everyone baking at home.

One of those couples baking at home has been William and the former Kate Middleton. The Duke of Cambridge made sure to stock up on some goodies for the couple's three children while he was at the bakery.

"At Smiths, as William stocked up on pain au chocolat and croissants, he said he’s been doing 'a little bit of baking' but Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have been 'attacking the kitchen and it’s just been an explosion of flour and chocolate everywhere," Sunday Times royal correspondent Roya Nikkah tweeted.

The Duchess of Cambridge paid a separate visit to Fakenham Garden Centre in Hempton on Thursday. The family business reopened on May 15 after being closed for seven weeks.

She told the employees that she often visits garden centers with the children, who have been growing tomato plants at home, according to Nikkah.

Last year the duchess showed off the garden she helped create with the Royal Horticultural Society and landscape architects Andrée Davies and Adam White at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Before their in-person appearances this week, the royal couple popped up virtually on a number of video calls over the last few months, including lifting spirits as guest bingo callers at a British nursing home in May.

They have also joined with their children to clap in appreciation of health care workers and made sure to thank all the teachers for their hard work during a difficult time.