// Greggs hopes to reopen around 800 of its stores in the middle of June, when lockdown lifts for non-essential retailers
// It was initially meant to ramp up its re-opening phase this month but ditched it after it customers expressed coronavirus fears
High street bakery chain Greggs hopes to reopen around 800 of its stores in the middle of June.
The news comes a few weeks after it took u-turn on an initial decision to ramp up the re-opening stores this month over fears it could lead to large crowds as the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown continues to drag on.
“We have planned and delivered robust shop trials using our new operational safety measures and they have progressed well allowing us to now move to open an increased number of our shops from mid-June,” a Greggs spokesperson said.
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The firm did not put a figure on how many stores it hopes to open, but it is understood to be trying to serve customers out of about 800 of its sites.
Greggs runs approximately 2050 outlets across the UK.
It has been running trials with just over a dozen stores in the North East, its home region, for around a month now.
The firm is now reportedly planning to ramp up the trials.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set June 15 as the date for when non-essential retailers can begin to reopen, provided they adhered to social distancing rules.
Government guidance has also slowly become less strict after the country was forced into lockdown nine weeks ago.
While most restaurants, cafes and food chains have remained closed through the period, they were permitted to do takeaways or delivery only.
Earlier this month, McDonald’s started reopening its British stores, starting with 15 in and around London.
Starbucks also reopened 150 of its stores earlier in the month.
Other food chains that have re-opened but only offer takeaway or delivery include Pret-a-Manger and Nando’s.
with PA Wires