COVID Marshals have been employed in Dorset to patrol ‘Covid hotspots’ and ensure residents and businesses are complying with government lockdown rules.
Covid marshals have been tasked with providing a visible presence in town centres and high streets whilst engaging with businesses and residents to explain and encourage national Covid-19 guidelines.
The marshals have been funded through a £30 million grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which was allocated to all district and unitary authorities in England to spend on Covid-19 related compliance and enforcement activities.
They will work closely with Dorset Council and Dorset-based company Event Security Southern to work with the public and business owners and ensure they are ‘Covid-19 secure’.
They hope to achieve this by promoting social distancing and encouraging people to follow Covid-19 public health measures, while educating and explaining guidelines to businesses and the general public.
They will also work with local businesses on measures including queue management and one-way systems, whilst reminding people to wear face coverings.
The marshals were out in Weymouth’s harbourside and beachfront areas on the 5th November, as these have been reported as potential hotspots for gatherings
The marshals do not have any direct enforcement powers and cannot issue fines to people or businesses that do not comply with rules – but they can report rule-breakers to the police.
The Dorset Council portfolio holder for customer services and communities, councillor Jill Haynes, said:
“Keeping up with the latest Covid-19 secure guidance can be challenging and it’s important that we provide support in as many ways as possible.
“The marshals will provide a visible presence on the ground in our town centres and hight streets that demonstrates one of the approaches we’re taking to make sure our businesses and residents keep safe while the pandemic continues.”
Dorset Council can deploy the marshals to anywhere in the county and councillors hope they will increase public confidence when visiting town centres and high streets.