NATIONAL coffee chain Costa has become the latest high street giant to close its stores in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

The company announced that all 2,000 stores, including the two in Hexham, will shut from Monday evening.

A statement on the company's website read: "Whilst our stores are closed, our commitment to our customers, our communities and our teams does not stop.

"We will do our best to keep Costa stores open in hospitals where we will continue to provide free takeaway coffee for the next two weeks to the NHS workers who are at the forefront of this crisis.

"Where possible, we will also keep our Costa Express machines available to serve you great coffee."

Store workers at the company will also receive their full average weekly pay over eight weeks.

The decision comes after rivals Starbucks, which also has a branch in Hexham, closed the doors of all its stores on Saturday.