Shepherd Neame has announced a series of “extensive measures” to ensure the health of staff and customers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Effective from 19 March, all office staff will be home-based, and the front office and visitor facilities in Faversham will close.
There will be a temporary suspension of brewery tours, while events in The Old Brewery Store have also been postponed. While its Brewery Shop still remains open to the public, this will be reviewed daily.
The brewer also announced it would implement “strict new controls” at its production facilities, including a deep cleaning of all areas at the beginning and end of each shift, and the provision of temperature monitors for employees.
Henceforth, only critical supplies will be allowed on site, and all visitors will have to undergo temperature checks while only accessing the site through one single point.
The group confirmed that most of its pubs would remain open “for the time being”, but said that it is monitoring the situation daily, and on an individual basis.
The brewer also revealed that it is lobbying the government in order to secure an “immediate” cash injection to provide “reassurance” for licensees in the sector.
In the meantime, the group has also introduced “extensive precautionary measures” across its managed sites.
Infrared thermometers will be provided to enable the monitoring of staff, while furniture will also be rearranged to ensure “adequate social distancing” between customers.
Contactless card payments will be requested “where possible” to minimise the handling of cash by staff. Customer numbers will be restricted, while hygiene toolkits will be dispensed across sites.
Jonathan Neame, CEO of Shepherd Neame, said: “As we face the enormous challenge of responding to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, I would like to assure you that the safety of our team members and our customers is our overriding priority.
“We are vigilantly monitoring the COVID-19 situation around the clock and recognise the situation is evolving rapidly.”
He added: “I would like to take this opportunity personally, to thank all our customers and team members for their continued support and loyalty, and hope that they stay safe at this time.”