Marks & Spencer to reopen dozens of cafes

Marks & Spencer is to reopen 49 of its cafes across the UK from Thursday.

The high street retailer said it had taken the decision to reopen the sites to takeaway customers after operating social distancing and extra hygiene measures in its stores.

It said the cafes would be opening for takeaway hot drinks only and the sites selected were all cafes located next to M&S Foodhall stores which have remained open through the lockdown.

A Marks & Spencer store
A Marks & Spencer store

The announcement comes as cafe chains, such as Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero, reopen sites for takeaway customers.

M&S said its reopening plan came after a trial at five locations including its High Street Kensington and Maybrook Canterbury sites.

The 49 sites chosen to reopen span across the UK, and include locations in Belfast, Cramlington and Cheshunt.

It said the company had prepared “rigorous guidance for colleagues and will have extensive signage for customers so they can pick up their coffee safely”.

Safety measures had been introduced, including plastic screens at each cafe till.

Employees had also been asked to wash their hands every 30 minutes as a minimum, with surfaces sanitised regularly.

Only one staff member would work behind a counter at a time to ensure social distancing, while it was also introducing contactless collection and customers would be encouraged to use contactless payment.