High street bakery chain Greggs will shut all its stores from the end of business on tomorrow (Tuesday March 24).
The company said operating a takeaway service was not enough to maintain social distancing.
In a statement the company said: “We’ve been doing everything we can to keep our shops open and everyone safe but it has become clear that to help us all maintain social distance we need to go further and close all of our shops completely.
“So, we have made the difficult decision to close all of our shops on Tuesday March 24.
“First and foremost, thank you to our amazing colleagues for the hard work they have been putting in every day.
“They live and breathe the Greggs spirit, and we couldn’t have got through these challenging times without their unwavering positivity and cooperation.
“While we are close, we will continue supporting our colleagues with full contract hours for as long as we are able to although we will need to keep this under review as the situation develops.”
Local Greggs branches include two in Hanley, one in Newcastle and a number of others.
Greggs added: “Whilst our shops will be temporarily closed, our dedication to our communities won’t stop. We’ll continue to provide support to our local communities by distributing any remaining unsold food and offering support for those in hardship through the Greggs Foundation.
“To our customers, thank you for your ongoing support – we know these are difficult and unsettling times, and through our community work we hope to be able to continue serving you, and your friends and families in some way.
“Last but by no means least, a special thank you to the key workers at the front line of this crisis and all those who continue to work tirelessly to reduce the spread of the virus.”