Award-winning London restaurant Fare has kept its doors open over the past few weeks, transforming a busy restaurant business into a successful local takeaway.

But now staff at the Clerkenwell site are getting ready to welcome the public to their outside dining areas, they’re not just relying on social distancing and enhanced cleaning routines to keep customers and staff safe. Their reopening plans now include a staff COVID-19 testing programme to reassure customers and colleagues, run with help from occupational health experts Express Medicals.

Daniel Roberts, Manager of the Old Street restaurant, approached the company after hearing how testing staff for their COVID-19 status had boosted customer confidence in other industry sectors.

“We’re committed to opening safely, so spoke to Express Medicals’ clinical teams about ways they could help,” he explains. “We’re now testing our staff who give us their permission, to determine their virus status, to help us make good decisions. It’s a valuable investment: if we can identify who’s had COVID-19, we know who’s likely to be safe when working with colleagues and the public, and who we need to monitor more carefully for signs of the virus. And we think customers will be reassured too: we’ll let them know that we’re testing – we know they’ll value that information, and hopefully our commitment to their wellbeing. We don’t just want customers back. We want them to feel valued and safe.”

The team at Fare is the first restaurant to approach Express Medicals about COVID-19 testing. “We’ve been delighted to work with the team at Fare, to provide online training, testing kits and a whole range of educational materials written with the experts at Imperial College,” said Dr Dan Hegarty, CEO of Express Medicals. “We’re providing hundreds of kits a week to companies who have a real commitment to safety in these changing times. Fare is the first restaurant we’ve worked with in the hospitality sector – they’re really blazing a trail to keep their customers and staff safe.”