// Greggs halts plans to reopen stores as fears grow over crowds amid Covid-19 lockdown
// It shut all 2050 UK outlets last month following lockdown
Greggs has taken a u-turn on its decision to reopen stores next week over fears it could lead to large crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The bakery chain shut all of its 2050 outlets when the UK went into lockdown last month, and has now postponed plans to reopen.
Earlier this week, Greggs said it had planned to reopen 20 shops in the Newcastle area from next Monday in a trial to see if it can operate effectively with social distancing measures in place.
However, the bakery retail chain said there was the risk of having “excessive numbers of customers” in stores if shops were to reopen at this current time.
Greggs also said it would now initially operate these trials behind closed doors in order to effectively test its new operational safety measures, and it would invite walk-in customers into shops only when it feels confident in doing so.
Greggs had hoped if the trial was successful it could move to phase two, with 700 shops reopening.
However, it had said this would only happen if the government moved first to relax the lockdown.
Greggs was working on the basis that schools would reopen on June 1, allowing the phase two shops to reopen on June 8.
The final phase of its initial plan was to open all shops with new operational measures in place by July 1, which is when the government’s job retention furlough scheme is due to expire.
Because it sells food, Greggs is considered an “essential” retailer and is able to remain open during the lockdown.