ONE of East Lancashire's largest employers has been forced to close down its head quarters following a coronavirus outbreak among staff.

The EG Group closed its head office and shared service centre on Haslingden Road, Blackburn, after an employee tested positive for the virus last week.

Since then, a further four employees have tested positive since going into self-isolation at home, forcing bosses to close down the two sites in a bid to contain the spread of the virus. 

Starting on Monday and until further notice, all staff at the firm will start working from home once again, following a phased introduction back into office working following the peak of COVID-19.

Stuart Jones, Group Safety Manager, EG Group, said: “The health of our colleagues, supply chain and customers has been and remains our utmost priority. 

"The employees who have tested positive were based in one of our offices and our retail network remains unaffected and we are still open to serve local communities across the United Kingdom.

“A deep clean of the affected office has already been undertaken and all employees will now work remotely until further notice.

“We have been in contact with the employees affected and have requested them to undertake the recommended period of self-isolation. 

"We will provide them with any relevant support during this time and we wish them a speedy recovery. 

"Our sincere prayers and thoughts are also with those affected by COVID-19."

A very small number of staff will be allowed to attend the office to fulfil critical on-site roles in pre-designated safe zones and adhering to safety and social distancing guidelines.

Euro Garages, which is owned by multi-millionaire Blackburn brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, had already invested around a million pounds in PPE measures and remote working technologies before the outbreak. 

At its head office, this included the installation of Perspex screens between desks, masks distributed to all staff, making hand sanitisers and wipes available throughout the building, and the implementation of one-way access between floors and suitable signage to enforce social distancing.

One member of staff, who wished to remain anonymous, added: "We were all informed by our line managers in each department, and asked to go home."