Greggs to reopen some of their stores amid the coronavirus pandemic

Everyone’s favourite bakery chain Greggs are set to reopen some of their stores amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The high street baker is going to open only 20 of their 2,050 shops a part of a ‘controlled trial’ but more will follow. However, fans across the country may be disappointed as all of the shops they are opening are in the Newcastle area.

The stores will be be back up and running on 4 May. Roger Whiteside, the chief executive of Greggs, explained that the trial would be running for at least two weeks but would mean the shops had shorter trading hours and a limited stock of products.

In his letter to staff the CEO wrote that the company was planning on opening around 700 stores by 8 June and aim to have all of them up and running by 1 July, which is the date the furlough scheme of government funds for employees is set to end.

However, he was clear to state that some of these plans may alter depending on further information and guidance on the coronavirus pandemic from the government.

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.” Additionally they expect that their sales will be "significantly lower than normal" due to social distancing measures.

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A spokeswoman for Greggs 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."

Many on Twitter were keen on the idea of the much-loved brand reopening some of their stores, with one writing: “Gregg are reopening 20 shops in Newcastle next week, I can’t wait for a sausage cheese bean melt to touch my lips”.

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However there was some pushback with some feeling it should not reopen during lockdown. One user write: “I bloody love a vegan sausage roll but I think #Greggs reopening sends the wrong message about lockdown. Your sausage roll isn't bloody essential.”

Because Greggs is a food shop it was not required to close during lockdown, but did so originally over safety concerns. They have been paying all their staff that were self-isolating full wages, and of the £130 million profit they made last year 10% went to their staff.

Earlier this month, Burger King, KFC and Pret A Manger also reopened certain branches.

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