Kent brewery, Shepherd Neame are opening three of their Thanet pubs this weekend.
The Botany Bay Hotel in Kingsgate, Minnis Bay Bar and Brasserie in Birchington and Royal Albion Hotel in Broadstairs will open their doors today (July 4), but with Covid-19 safety measures in place.
The remaining nine isle pubs which are tenanted are set to re-open towards the end of the month.
In a statement brewery boss Jonathan Neame said: “We will be opening our managed pubs on a phased basis and, together with our tenanted estate, we expect to open at least two thirds of our pubs by the end of July.
Although a few things may be a little different, we can assure you that everything you missed most about your local will be on offer – good drinks, good food, good company and a great welcome.
Lockdown has been an extraordinary experience for all of us, and we recognise that while many of our customers are excited at the prospect of returning to the pub, others may feel apprehensive. We are doing our very best to provide reassurance that our environments are Covid-secure, and our teams have been working flat out to install screens and other mitigating measures and introduce new ways of operating. The health and welfare of team members and customers remains our top priority.”
He added: “As we reopen, we now ask for your support in taking personal responsibility to follow the new rules, to demonstrate patience towards our staff, tolerance towards fellow customers and respect for our neighbours. We need you to stay safe, in order to stay open.”
GUIDANCE FROM SHEPHERD NEAME
IF YOU BOOK A TABLE FOR FOOD, HOW LONG CAN YOU STAY ON FOR DRINKS?
Tables are limited to 2 hours.
CAN YOU REQUEST OUTDOOR TABLES WHEN BOOKING?
No, tables outside are walk-in only. Customers can request to sit outside when they arrive and will give up their inside booking if there is a table available outside.
CAN YOU BOOK ONLINE FOR DRINKS ONLY?
No – we are accepting bar bookings by telephone only.
WILL ACCOMMODATION BE AVAILABLE?
Pubs / hotels/ inns with accommodation will offer rooms if they are open.
DO I NEED TO BOOK A TABLE?
We will only be offering seated table service while social distancing requirements are in place. This will result in reduced maximum occupancy, so we strongly advise that customers book a table to guarantee their place.
DO YOU ACCEPT WALK-INS?
We will accept walk-ins, but strongly advise you to book, especially at busy times of the week.
HOW DO I BOOK?
When bookings open on June 29, please book online if that option is available on the individual pub website. If not, please call the pub directly from June 29. At our managed sites, only food bookings will be taken online. If you would like to join us for a drink only then you will still need to book a table but this will be taken over the phone. Bookings will not be taken via social media channels.
IS THERE A LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT I CAN BOOK A TABLE FOR?
Bookings online are for up to a maximum of eight people. For bookings over eight people, please phone the pub directly (after June 29). We expect all customers to follow current Government guidance on meeting people from outside your household. Current guidance is that indoor gatherings are limited to members of any two households (or support bubbles) while outdoor gatherings are limited to members of any two households (or support bubbles) or a group of at most six people from any number of households.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO CANCEL?
Due to the exceptional circumstances currently being faced by our pub teams, it is more important than ever that you let us know if you need to cancel a booking. Your support in this matter is appreciated.
CAN I USE A BIRTHDAY CLUB OR GIFT VOUCHER WHICH EXPIRED WHILE THE PUBS WERE CLOSED?
Yes, if your voucher expired between March 20 and July 30, 2020, we are happy to accept those vouchers until the end of August. We will provide more information on this via email before July 4.
WHAT MEASURES HAVE YOU TAKEN TO ENSURE CUSTOMER SAFETY?
We have invested in extensive measures to protect our customers and team members, including the following:
- Issuing infrared thermometers to all pubs to allow team member temperature checks ahead of every shift
- Issuing new safety signage to all pubs to reassure and inform, including floor stickers to indicate social distancing requirements. This signage is being sourced locally from our Charity of the Year Royal British Legion Industries.
- Till screens to protect our team members have been installed across our managed estate
- Physical screens to create safer, more intimate spaces have been installed across our managed estate
- Additional mobile PIN-entry devices have been issued across our managed estate to allow more contactless and card payment at the table
- Hand sanitiser dispense stations installed across our managed estate
- 3,000 face masks for team members in our managed estate have been sourced locally from Sittingbourne firm Tillett Racing Seats
We will also be introducing some temporary changes to the way we operate, including:
- Seated table service only which reduces capacity numbers
- Tables removed/spaced out in line with Government guidelines
- Single entrance and exit points to the pubs where possible
- One in, one out system for pubs with smaller toilet space
- Introduction of single-use recyclable paper menus
- All condiments removed from tables and replaced with ramekins when requested
- Cutlery will be brought to you by our team members
- Increased cleaning regime, with focus on high touch points
- No standing at the bar, with drinks provided by table service in the bar area
Please note that we will follow Government guidance on any additional measures that are required.
DO I HAVE TO WEAR A MASK?
No, customers aren’t required to wear masks, though our team members will all be issued with protective workwear to be used in situations that require it. Please be aware that team members may ask customers to remove face coverings safely for the purposes of identification.
DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE MY NAME AND CONTACT DETAILS BEFORE ENTERING THE PUB?
We are waiting for Government guidance on suggestions that there may be a customer registration process when arriving at the pub or when booking online.
HOW WILL SERVICE BE AFFECTED?
Our team members will be following social distancing guidelines at all times, so it may take a little longer to serve you, but we hope that you will bear with us during these exceptional circumstances.
HOW WILL OUR VISIT TO THE PUB BE DIFFERENT?
Our aim is to ensure that you feel safe when visiting our pubs, while still endeavouring to create the same authentic and engaging Shepherd Neame experience that you usually enjoy in our distinctive and individual pub environments.
HOW WILL MY HOTEL EXPERIENCE BE DIFFERENT?
We are introducing some minor temporary changes to the way we operate our managed hotels, including the following:
- COMPLIMENTARY DRINKS AND BATHROOM ACCESSORIES
Hairdryers and a selection of toiletries and drinks are no longer being left in rooms, but are still available to guests free of charge. They can be collected from reception or delivered to your door.
To keep contact to a minimum, our housekeeping team will not service guest rooms daily. Guests requiring fresh towels will be asked to notify our reception team and the team will arrange for them to be left outside their room.
HOW WILL SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES BE ENFORCED?
We are confident that our customers will respect the rules, but the police and local authorities have powers to enforce social distancing requirements and can instruct customers to disperse, leave an area, issue a fixed penalty notice or take further enforcement action.