Ikea to close 22 stores
Ikea is to close all its UK stores tomorrow as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The temporary measure was announced yesterday by the Swedish furniture chain.
Shoppers will still be able to buy items from Ikea online or through the store's app.
The chain will also still be making deliveries and said customers can choose a "contact-free" delivery option.
Ikea had already closed its restaurants, cafes and bistros, plus its outside play areas for kids, following the spread of coronavirus.
It's not clear when stores are expected to open again.
Ikea told The Sun delivery times were currently being affected by "operational constraints" but said it would be keeping customers updated with expected times.
"Our online fulfilment operations and customer contact centre are still in operation. Those store workers who are fit and healthy are being asked to come in to into work when stores are shut to the public and we'll work together to define how we best support our customers and communities," a spokesperson said.
"Those self-isolating in line with government guidelines are being paid."
Ikea has 22 stores and two planning studios in the UK.
Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer, said it was an unprecedented situation.
"These are extraordinary times, and our absolute priority is to ensure the health and safety of our customers and co-workers," he said.
"We have listened carefully to them, to the advice of the UK and Ireland governments, and have been closely monitoring the situation as this evolves.
"This is the right decision for us to take at this point.
"We look forward to welcoming our customers back to our stores in the future."
Ikea isn't the only retailer to have made drastic changes in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
UK takeaway chain Greggs has closed its seating areas and toilets to help stop the spread of the virus, as has McDonald's, leaving only takeaway and drive-through options.
Meanwhile, easyJet staff have been asked to take three months of unpaid leave due to coronavirus.
In Australia, airline Qantas has suspended all international flights and stood down two-thirds of its staff - around 20,000 employees - in the wake of the pandemic.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced with permission
Originally published as Ikea to close 22 stores