PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia restaurants are preparing to re-open indoor dining on January 15.
To ensure the health and safety of owners, employees and guests as the industry weathers this pandemic, free COVID-19 testing began Thursday for workers and their families.
The Goat in Center City hosted 175 people for the first round of weekly testing. It's something our struggling restaurants have been fighting for.
"It's vital to keeping our businesses open and to keeping our staff and our customers safe," said Nicole Marquis, the founder of the Save Philly Restaurants Coalition.
"It's really something we've been asking for since the summer. We're really grateful to be able to provide this service to all Philadelphia restaurant workers. The testing is completely free and you don't even need insurance," she added.
Save Philly Restaurants is a coalition of more than 250 local restaurants and bars.
Marquis secured CARES Act funding to provide the free tests.
Employees who showed up Thursday say it provides a sense of security for them as they go to work, for their families at home, and for diners.
"This would be extremely helpful to really strap down and be safe and to know if anybody has COVID," said Sean Lockhead, a line cook at Bar Bombon in Center City. "I think it's almost essential to have this."
The free testing is being offered weekly, with the next round of testing Thursday, January 14.
If you work in a city restaurant and you want to take part in the free testing, email SPR@hipcityveg.com.
Free weekly COVID-19 testing offered for Philly restaurant workers and their families