THE owner of Studland's Shell Bay Restaurant, one of the top seafood restaurants in the county, has confirmed a member of staff has tested positive for coronavirus.

Jamie Farrar, owner, told the Daily Echo the collective decision had been made to temporarily close the restaurant, despite Government guidelines being far from clear on the subject.

Mr Farrar said the welfare of staff and customers was paramount, and they hoped to be reopen in a matter of days.

He said: "Those who came in close contact with the staff member have already been tested, and are not exhibiting any symptoms. Government guidelines if one member of staff tests positive do not say we need to close, but we are closing down for the next couple of days because it is the right thing to do. We cannot in good faith continue if there is a risk to any customer.

"All staff are being tested and the whole premises are being cleaned."

Government guidance for food businesses, including restaurants, if a staff member tests positive for Covid-19 is: "It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home unless you are advised to do so following investigation by the relevant authorities.

"You should keep monitoring the Government response to Covid-19 for further updates."

However, Mr Farrar said: "We cannot wait for the Government to get back to us, we needed to make a decision in the best interests of everyone.

"No one else has developed any symptoms, we are all in the process of being fast-track tested.

"Hopefully we can reopen very soon."

Restaurants up and down the country are being forced to implement temporary closures, or completely rethink the way they operate in the short term, because of positive Covid-19 results for staff, and as the Government's track and trace system gathers pace.

It is particularly damaging for the industry, which has been hammered already by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.

Shell Bay is a well-respected seafood restaurant, boasting amazing views across Poole Harbour.

It was even listed by The Sunday Times Magazine as one of the three of the best seafood restaurants, when it was described as 'an eatery with a panoramic view out to Brownsea Island that is almost as stunning as the beautiful fresh fish they serve.'

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