Shepherd Neame said it was inevitable trading “will deteriorate rapidly” as it introduces a number of precautionary measures.

These include stopping all non-contractual capital expenditure in the brewery and pub estate for the foreseeable future and a suspension of rent receipts from Monday to support tenants.

The brewery will continue to produce beer under strict hygiene controls while the board of directors have voluntarily agreed to take a temporary 20% pay cut.

The interim dividend of 6p per share announced on 11 March has been cancelled.

The company entered a long term financing debt structure in October 2018 providing £107.5m of committed facilities with net debt at the 28 December 2020 of £83.9m.

“The above actions are precautionary at this stage and will be reviewed on a weekly basis to preserve maximum headroom on our facilities and in the hope that we can return to normal business in the near future”, Shepherd Neame said in the interim update.