Honouring our health workers has been at the forefront of many of the European royal families’ efforts, but on Wednesday Queen Mathilde took the time to thank some other unsung heroes on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis: grocery store workers.
The Queen, wearing a mask and protective gloves along with a bright red trouser suit, offered support and well wishes to employees working at a Carrefour supermarket in Gerpinnes. “Thanks to their daily commitment, they ensure that the supermarkets remain open and supplied, even during these special times,” the Belgian monarchy shared on their Facebook page.
Queen Mathilde walked around the store and spoke with cashiers, stockists, and other employees to discuss their experiences working at a supermarket during the pandemic and learned more about what safety measures were being taken to protect the staff as well as shoppers.Embed from Getty Images
One of these measures included installing protective glass to separate cashiers from customers in the check-out lanes, and Queen Mathilde spoke with a cashier from behind the glass about her challenges working through coronavirus. “Today, I feel protected and I don’t feel too bad about the situation,” the employee said, according to Hola!
The Queen also met with another employee whose father died from COVID-19, and Mathilde spoke with her at length about how she’s been dealing with the tragic loss.
She also chatted with customers in the store about social distancing and their experiences shopping, along with department managers about the specific challenges they’ve been facing.
Before her departure, The Queen received gifts of wine, strawberries, yeast, and some other local items from the supermarket.Embed from Getty Images
In addition to her visit to the store, Queen Mathilde visited the Carrefour Mestdagh Group distribution centre. Donning a high-vis vest over her suit, The Queen learned how the grocery distribution facility works, and the changes that have been made during the coronavirus crisis.
Belgium has been on lockdown since March 18 and has since reported more than 51,000 cases and 8,400-plus deaths due to COVID-19, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in the world due to its population of just 11.5 million.