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The Swedish homeware giant is shutting up shop. IKEA closing all 22 of its UK stores is a clear sign it's no longer business as usual.

IKEA UK \& Ireland has announced that, as a precautionary measure against the ongoing risk of coronavirus, COVID-19, it will temporarily close all stores to customers -- from 6pm today, Friday 20th March.

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'These are extraordinary times, and our absolute priority is to ensure the health and safety of our customers and co-workers' explains Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer.

'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.'

In-line with recommendations from local authorities, IKEA had already implemented additional precautionary measures.

Including the closure of its restaurants, cafes and bistros. Along with enhanced cleaning routines and the closure of its outside playground facilities. As the outbreak continues it's been felt a temporary closure is the best next step.

Customers will continue to be able to shop stock online at Ikea.co.uk and have products delivered directly to their homes. For further piece of mind Ikea are offering customers the choice of 'contact-free deliveries' if they prefer.

Peter Jelkeby added, 'as a company who cares deeply about people and the planet, our thoughts are with all those affected by the virus and those working tirelessly to care for them.'

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'IKEA looks forward to welcoming customers back to its stores soon and thanks customers for their understanding during these extraordinary circumstances.'

People are at the heart of the IKEA business. The retailer remains committed to supporting its co-workers in the best way possible during this complex and fast-evolving situation.

Related: The cleaning products that won't protect your home against coronavirus revealed

The temporary measure is in place in a bid to stop further outbreak of the pandemic.

No more meatballs for the foreseeable.

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