West Berkshire Council's Covid Marshalls receive positive reaction from public
Issued on: 17 February 2021
West Berkshire Council Leader Lynne Doherty met up this week with some of the District's new Covid Marshalls in their first week in the job to find out how they were settling into their new roles, and to hear their feedback from the public.
As part of the Council's Public Protection Service, six Covid Marshalls have been out on the streets since Monday (15 February) to provide guidance to residents on lockdown restrictions. The Covid Marshalls will also be facilitating the safe return of shoppers to high streets once restrictions are officially eased by central Government.
Councillor Lynne Doherty said:
"Our Covid Marshalls have had numerous positive encounters with our residents. The people they have met have truly welcomed their support and clarification on some of the finer points of the rules to keep themselves and others safe.
"Now is the right time for West Berkshire Council to welcome Covid Marshalls into our district as part of our Public Protection Service. By bringing them in at this stage, they have time to become familiar with potential areas to focus on prior to the reopening of our communities, especially when it becomes time to begin gradually to ease restrictions, and retail, hospitality and other businesses start to re-open.
"Previously our Public Protection Service concentrated our efforts on working with local businesses, ensuring they were clear about how to comply with government guidance, and providing them with necessary support. Now, the emphasis is on our local residents, so our Covid Marshalls have begun engaging with the public to help them to stay safe."
The Covid Marshalls travel across the district, working in shifts to cover seven days a week. They use their local knowledge to cover priority areas such as supermarkets and other places where local residents shop, including markets, and also parks and open spaces. The cost will be met by Covid-19 funding provided to the Council by central government.
Engaged initially for three months, their role is to help people to stay informed about the latest government guidance, and provide advice on Covid-19 restrictions. The aim is to help keep everyone safe by ensuring people aren't inadvertently breaking any rules.
Covid Marshall speak to the public and local business owners, and their staff, about any Covid-related concerns they may have, and hand out face coverings to members of the public when necessary.
In addition to the six Covid Marshalls out in the community, there is also a Marshall assigned to each of the Council's two current community testing sites for key and critical workers. As the Council continues to open new community testing sites across the district, an additional Covid Marshall will be introduced for each site.