Dear Friends of Shepherd Neame,
After more than five months since our pubs were last open, and 260 days of closure since March last year, I am absolutely delighted that we can open once again.
Over 200 of our pub gardens will be open from today, and the remainder will reopen on May 17 when indoor service can be offered. The majority of our pubs will be operating on a first come, first served basis, so please feel free to just walk in. Our brewery shop in Court Street, Faversham, will also reopen tomorrow (Tuesday, April 13).
This opening is only made possible because of the extraordinary success of the vaccination programme, and we thank all those who have taken part in this rollout.
Today is the first step towards a return to the normal pub life that we know and love. We dream of a pub with live music, with weddings, events and family celebrations, of playing pub games, of watching sport, of buying a beer at the bar and most importantly socialising and reconnecting with friends and loved ones in a safe environment.
A good pub is unique, individual and characterful. Most importantly, it is welcoming, inclusive and diverse, where people from all parts of our community can come together.
We recognise that while most of our customers are excited at the prospect of returning to the pub, others may feel apprehensive. Throughout this crisis, the health and wellbeing of team members and customers has been our top priority, and we aim to meet the same high standards as we did last year.
We appreciate that everyone will take their own time to recover from the trauma of the past year, and we will do our best to respect your personal needs. I sincerely hope that today marks the end of national lockdowns, and that never again will we have to close our doors.
Our licensees and our team members are incredibly excited about getting back to work and cannot wait to welcome you again. I would like to thank them all once more for everything they have done, for their resilience in the face of such hardship, for their commitment to the company and for their optimism for the future, and wish them good luck with the reopening. This positive spirit is perfectly encapsulated in Barman, the Shepherd Neame sea shanty with an accompanying film starring our licensees and team members, which we released on Friday to celebrate pubs reopening.
Finally, and most importantly, I would also like to thank you for your loyalty and many messages of support. We look forward to seeing you at one of our pubs very soon, hopefully on a warm, sunny day!
With my thanks and very best wishes,
Shepherd Neame Chief Executive