Coronavirus: Greggs announces temporary closure of all UK branches

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/02/17: A woman walks past Greggs restaurant in London. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Greggs has announced it will temporarily close all its UK branches on Tuesday, in a bid to limit social contact and curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The popular bakery chain’s announcement suggests it did not see continuing to operate as a takeaway-only outlet as a safe enough option.

Greggs (GRG.L) said in a statement on Monday: “We’ve been doing everything we can to keep our shops open and everyone safe but it has become clear that to help us all maintain social distance we need to go further and close all of our shops completely.”

Branches opened on Monday across the country, but will be closed on Tuesday. Many food and drink outlets have remained open for takeaways, but a growing number including Costa Coffee, McDonald’s, Nando’s have closed down.

The company thanked its staff, but many will face an uncertain period away from work. The Greggs statement added: “While we are closed, we will continue supporting our colleagues with full contract hours for as long as we are able although we will need to keep this under review as the situation develops.

It said it would also be distributing any remaining unsold food and offering support to those facing hardship through the Greggs Foundation. 

In a message to its customers, it added: “We know these are difficult and unsettling times, and through our community work we hope to be able to continue serving you, and your friends and families in some way.”