Coronavirus: Greggs to reopen 800 shops for takeaway

Greggs with customerImage source, Greggs

Greggs is to open about 800 shops for takeaways on Thursday after temporary closures during the coronavirus crisis.

The bakery chain, which has more than 2,050 outlets, said it planned to reopen all its remaining shops from early July.

Also on Tuesday, Cineworld said it would reopen UK cinemas with social distancing measures from 10 July.

Shops and businesses are beginning to to restart as coronavirus restrictions ease.

The UK government has been gradually easing lockdown measures, and Monday this week saw non-essential High Street shops reopening in England.

Lockdown measures in England are due to be eased further from 4 July, when pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, hotels and cinemas could reopen.

Fast food restaurants initially closed their doors during the coronavirus crisis, before some started to tentatively reopen.

In May, McDonald's saw huge queues outside its restaurants as it started to reopen some of its UK drive-through outlets, while rival KFC had started to reopen restaurants for delivery in April.

Greggs began to reopen shops during the coronavirus lockdown in May with a trial of 20 in the Newcastle area.

After initially saying it would allow customers into the shops, it then backtracked and said the reopenings would be behind closed doors.

In April, it said it hoped to reopen 700 stores from 8 June, including 150 franchise shops, and have all stores open again by 1 July, when the government's job retention scheme was due to end. That scheme was subsequently extended to the end of October.

In its latest update, Greggs said it would now reopen 800 outlets on Thursday. The chain said there would be floor markings in the shops to help people maintain social distancing with protective screens at the counters, PPE equipment for staff, additional cleaning and more hand sanitiser. Customers would be encouraged to make contactless payments, it added.

Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside said: "Looking forward, although great uncertainty remains, we are excited to be resuming our service for many customers this week."

Greggs has temporarily suspended its new shop opening programme except for shops where it is legally committed or expects strong customer traffic. It said it would open about 60 shops and close about 50 this year.

It is approaching landlords to make rent reductions, and has speeded up plans for delivery and click and collect services.

'Thrilled to be back'

UK cinema group Cineworld said that with "several blockbuster movies including Tenet and Mulan now confirmed for release in the coming weeks" it planned to reopen in the UK and the US from 10 July.

Although Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different plans to England for easing lockdown restrictions, a Cineworld spokesman said the current plan was to reopen most cinemas across the UK, with delays in a few smaller outlets to make sure they can comply with social distancing expectations.

Its chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: "We are thrilled to be back and encouraged by recent surveys that show that many people have missed going to the movie theatre."

Image source, Getty Images

He added that a "strong slate" had been confirmed for the coming weeks, including "A Quiet Place Part II, Wonder Women 1984, Black Widow, Bond, Soul, [and] Top Gun Maverick".

Among other measures, Cineworld said it had "adapted our daily movie schedules to manage queues and avoid the build-up of crowds in our lobbies and enhanced our cleanliness and sanitation procedures across all of our sites".

Rivals Vue Cinemas said in May that it hoped to reopen in mid-July.

Cineworld, which operates about 9,000 screens globally, abandoned a $1.65bn (£1.3bn) deal to buy Canada's Cineplex last week.