Harrods confirms closure after staff pressure continues
Department store Harrods has confirmed it will close its doors at 7pm today (20 March), after committing to protect the welfare of its employees amid the spread of coronavirus.
The luxury department store chain has a flagship in London's Knightsbridge, as well as branches in London's Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport.
It made the announcement on its social channels and it is the last of London's most famous landmark department stores to announce a temporary closure. No estimated open date has been given.
In a similar approach to Fortnum & Mason, Harrods will only be operating its food hall and pharmacy to serve the needs of the local community.
In a statement, Managing Directing Michael Ward, said: "In our daily management meeting yesterday we made the very difficult decision to close Harrods doors.
"Harrods began its journey as a grocer, and we will continue as a grocer. We take pride in serving our local community at this difficult time by keeping our Food Halls and Pharmacy open to the public, and will continue to provide these essential services until we are forced to close."
The move comes very suddenly, as Ward was featured yesterday in a staff video, urging them to keep going in the difficult times.
Staff had previously been petitioning Harrods to announce a closure, urging them to consider that "staff are unnecessarily put the self at risk.". The petition was urging the department store to follow the example of its rivals. By the morning of 20 March, the petition had gathered over 3,200 signatures.