Shepherd Neame has announced it has cut 10% of its workforce as it prepares for the month-long lockdown.

During the last lockdown, the group was able to sell takeaway beer alongside takeaway meals, but with the government’s recent ban on takeaway alcohol sales its 319 pubs and hotels have been forced to close entirely.

In a message to its customers, CEO Jonathan Neame announced the pubco will be requesting more than 90% of its workforce step down from their current roles on a temporary basis.

The business will be accessing the furlough scheme and fund the wages of all staff affected up to £30k per annuum, as well as those affected earning above £30k per annum so they can receive 80% of their normal pay.

It will also be waiving all rent for its licensees in the period.

“It is extremely disheartening to go into lockdown again after the immense efforts of the past few months,” said Neame. “But, as evidenced by the overwhelming wave of support given to our pubs when we reopened in July, our communities need, want and love their local. We look forward to welcoming you back as soon as the situation allows.

“Shepherd Neame has weathered many crises in its long history and remains as well placed as any to emerge from this crisis, but there is a long winter ahead with many challenges for us all.”