NORTH-East bakery chain Greggs will close all its shops from Tuesday, March 24 in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The popular chain, which operates two shops in Hexham and one in Prudhoe, made the decision on Monday, following similar announcements from Starbucks, Costa Coffee and McDonalds.

CEO Roger Whiteside 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 24th March.

"While we are closed, we will continue supporting our colleagues with full contract hours for as long as we are able although we will need to keep this under review as the situation develops.

"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."