Greggs to start trial reopening of 20 stores

Newcastle-based bakery and “food-on-the-go” retail giant Greggs said on Monday it plans to reopen 20 shops from next Monday in a trial to see if it is able to operate with social distancing.

All of Greggs’ more than 2,000 shops have been closed since March 24.

Greggs CEO Roger Whiteside said he hopes the trial will inform the company about what changes need to be made to operate safely and meet social distancing guidelines.

In a letter to staff, Whiteside said he hopes to open around 700 stores with new operational measures in place from June 8.

“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,” the chief executive said.

“This timing may change depending on future Government announcements.”

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 re-open at scale,”

Greggs’ trial will take place at shops all in the Newcastle area.