The bakery chain Greggs have announced on Monday they are to reopen some of their outlets, 20 will open in Newcastle as part of a “controlled trial.”
Greggs has over 2,000 shops and will open 20 stores on 4 May with more to follow.
Greggs chief executive Roger Whiteside said the trial will last at least two weeks, and involves a limited product range with shorter trading hours.
He said that from 8 June, he hoped to open about 700 stores, including 150 franchise shops, in a letter to staff.
One the government’s job retention scheme ends on 1 July, he intends to reopen all stores. He did warn that things could change depending on future government announces.
He added, “We expect it will only be possible to open this many shops if the government has taken a first step in relaxing the lockdown, which could be to open the schools.”
A Greggs spokeswoman said, “We want to play our part in getting the nation back up and running again, so we are planning to conduct a limited trial with volunteers to explore how we can reopen our shops with new measures in place that keep our colleagues and customers as safe as we can when we reopen at scale.”
Representatives from the largest chains, such as Pret a Manger, Costa and McDonalds asked George Eustice, the Environment Secretary if they can start to reopen.
It is understood that Eustice has been “particularly perplexed” by the closure of drive-through restaurants and described them as “the model of perfect social distancing.”
KFC are to reopen 11 of its restaurants after staff volunteered to work, and are to reopen some stores for takeaway and delivery services, but with no dine in options.
Burger King have already reopened some branches and they are to provide 10,000 free meals a week to NHS staff.
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