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Sandwich Chain Pret Reopens Four NYC Locations and Adds Grocery Delivery Service

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The chain is only letting in six customers at a time, and everybody has to be wearing face masks

A photo of a Pret a Manger shop sign in New York City
Pret a Manger
Photo Illustration by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pret is reopening for delivery and takeout — and grocery service

British takeaway cafe chain Pret a Manger is reopening four NYC locations — 179 Broadway, Union Square, 116th Street and Broadway, and 70th Street and York — for delivery and takeout starting on Tuesday, April 28, according to a company spokesperson. The chain, known for its prepackaged takeaway foods, will also be launching a grocery delivery service on Seamless, featuring some whole produce, milks, and breads, starting on the same day.

The chain previously shut down all 85 locations nationwide on March 17, as cities across the U.S. were shutting down to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of the reopening plan, Pret is only allowing six customers in a store at a time, customers must wear face masks in order to enter, and the stores aren’t accepting cash as a form of payment. Employees staffing the four NYC locations are getting paid overtime to work the more hazardous shifts, at one-and-a-half times their regular rate.

Pret entered into an exclusive operating partnership with Grubhub in order to offer delivery, so customers will only see Pret’s prepared food and grocery items available for delivery on Grubhub and subsidiary Seamless. Delivery is only available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, and takeout is available from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The 179 Broadway location is only open for delivery at this time.

The four NYC locations that are reopening mark the first wave of the company’s broader re-opening strategy. Pret “expects” to keep opening stores on a biweekly basis beginning in May, the company spokesperson says.

New York state is under a mandatory shutdown of all non-essential businesses at least until May 15, according to the governor. Some reports have estimated that the stringent restrictions on operations for restaurants and other businesses due to the novel coronavirus could start to be lifted in June, although the ultimate decision of when and how to reopen rests on the governor’s office.

In other news

— The FDA announced at a CNN town hall event Thursday that there’s no evidence of COVID-19 spreading through food or any type of food packaging and groceries.

— Steakhouse chain Ruth’s Chris, which has one location in Midtown Manhattan, is now the latest big chain to return its PPP loan money. The steakhouse received a $20 million loan.

Downtown Bakery in the East Village has reopened for takeout and delivery.

— Meet the delivery drivers shuttling food from NYC’s food pantries to high-risk New Yorkers in need.

— Our recipe on no-spice, one-pot lentils is coming next week:

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