A major tourist attraction in Oxfordshire will place most of its staff on furloughed leave from April 1.

Blenheim Palace will see less staff working in the coming months due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Its CEO, Dominic Hare, says the move comes 'with deep sadness'.

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He continued: "The scale of the impact of Coronavirus on all of us, and on Blenheim, is on a previously unimagined scale; far bigger than the Credit Crunch and Foot and Mouth combined.

"With economic activity ceasing for at least three months, the loss of jobs and the subsequent impact on people’s lives will be severe.

Blenheim is incredibly resilient, but events of this magnitude strike at the heart of even the strongest of organisations."

A small team will continue to work at the Palace on reduced salaries to maintain the estate and work on core projects.

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Mr Hare stressed that it is not known how long it wil take for the economy to recover from the impact of the virus but the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention scheme gives his team a 'very sensible pathway to protect as many jobs as possible'.

It will mean there will be a limited impact on employees' livelihoods during this time.

He added: "It will keep them and their families at home together in safety and mean they remain part of the Blenheim family throughout their furloughed leave.

"It goes without saying our goals and the commitments we have shared in the past few years are still very much in our hearts and we intend to fulfil them, but for now we are reviewing how we can best adapt to these uncertain times.

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We can say with certainty that the world which follows this crisis will be different to the world today – and we have every confidence that Blenheim, the most successful and adaptable of all institutions, will emerge as strong as ever."