Ipswich chain restaurants closing temporarily due to coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 17:46 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:24 20 March 2020
Ipswich restaurants Zizzi and Ask Italian are to close temporarily as restaurant chains start to shut in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
Azzurri Group, which runs the Italian chains, confirmed that its 300-plus sites will shut their doors from Thursday. The move is one of the largest mass closures yet, but comes as other dining chains halt operations for sit-down customers.
It was followed by announcements by competitors Prezzo, which has a site in the Buttermarket, that they will also temporarily shut sites. Steve Holmes, chief executive officer of Azzurri, said the decision was made in light of the Government’s recommendation to avoid public meetings and with “deepest regret”. He said: “For many of our people, this will mean not working until we can safely reopen our sites and this has been the hardest part of our decision.” The company said it currently plans for 117 Ask and Zizzi sites to be open for delivery. Prezzo also announced that it will close its 180 restaurant sites, including one in the Buttermarket, temporarily in response to the “Covid-19 crisis”. Meanwhile, hospitality giant Whitbread is also set to temporarily close around 400 restaurant sites from Friday night in response to the virus. The move will affect Ipswich locations such as The Swallow and Oyster Reach.
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A Whitbread spokeswoman said: “Whitbread has entered these unprecedented times in a very strong financial position, and we are taking decisive action to protect the interests of our guests, our staff and our business. “Following the recent, updated Government advice on social distancing, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our restaurants commencing Friday night. All of our Premier Inn hotels will remain open.”. Burger chain Byron, which has a site in the Buttermarket, said it has also closed its operations to the public completely and is moving to delivery-only.