West Berkshire Council is introducing a Covid Marshall Scheme for an initial period of three months. At the outset, eight Covid Marshalls will begin working across the district. They are part of the Public Protection Service, helping people to stay informed about the latest government guidance and providing advice on Covid-19 restrictions. The aim is to help keep everyone safe by ensuring people aren’t inadvertently breaking any rules.
It is expected that the Covid Marshalls - who will be highly visible when out on the streets of West Berkshire - will be in post by the middle of February. They will work shifts to cover seven days a week. The cost will be met by Covid-19 funding provided to the Council by central government. This new service will continue to provide support up to and beyond the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The Covid Marshalls will have local knowledge and travel across the district. Priority areas will be Covid testing sites, supermarkets and places where local residents shop, markets, parks and open spaces. They will engage with the public and businesses about any concerns they may have. They will also hand out face coverings when necessary.
The officers will also support local businesses by ensuring that they are avoiding bottle-necks by operating effective one-way systems.
Councillor Hilary Cole, West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for Public Protection said:
“We are pleased to welcome Covid Marshalls to our district. They will engage with our residents and local businesses, providing yet another way to help people stay up to date with government guidelines around living safely during the pandemic. Guidance changes over time, so it’s good to know that these officers are out in our community helping us stay safe.”
Covid Marshalls will not have any enforcement powers but, instead, will work closely with public protection staff and Thames Valley Police, who will pick up any enforcement related matters.
They will also provide regular activity reports back to the Council’s Covid response management team in order to help prioritise future efforts to protect the community.