With more than 90% of its income comes from visitors paying an entrance fee, Westminster Abbey has declared that it is down more than £12m in revenue this year and is set to make about 20% of its staff redundant as a result of the lockdown. It closed its doors on 20 March and only began to reopen for limited tourist visits on July 11.
The dean of Westminster Abbey, the Very Rev Dr David Hoyle, said: “The coronavirus had dealt a shattering blow to the Abbey's finances”.
Separately, the Church of England's 42 cathedrals are projected to be down more than £28.4m on what they thought their budgets would be this year.
They are projected to lose another £15.5m next year.
The Association of English Cathedrals, which represents Westminster Abbey and the Church of England's 42 cathedrals, warned job cuts would hit churches around the country when the government's job retention scheme ended in October.
The Abbey's financial reserves would be depleted by a third from September, Dr Hoyle said, and would continue to fall as visitor numbers were not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels for up to five years.
"There is a real need here," he said, warning Westminster Abbey expected a similar "breathtaking" loss of between £9m and £12m next year as well.
The Abbey is open for services and visits, but numbers are limited as social distancing is enforced.