Posted: 14.09.20 at 16:44 by Ethan Davies, Local Democracy Reporter
IT looks unlikely that Cheshire East will be deploying any Covid-secure marshals to help residents socially distance in the borough’s town centres for the time being.
When asked if the authority planned to bring in any marshals, a council spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The prime minister announced last week that Covid-secure marshals will be introduced in towns and city centres in England to help ensure social distancing rules are followed.
“However, questions still remain over how they will operate, what powers they will have and who will pay for them.
“We need the government to provide clarity and share the view of the Local Government Association, that any new responsibilities for councils in this area will have to be fully funded by Whitehall.”
Currently, no funding has been announced by the government, but it has said that marshals can either be volunteers or existing members of council staff.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government, said: “We are encouraging the introduction of marshals to help support our high streets and public spaces, making sure people feel safe to enjoy them.
“Some areas of the country have already introduced marshals to support the public in following the guidelines in a friendly way and we will be working with councils to see where else they are needed.”
The spokesman added that local authorities were ‘best placed’ to determine the exact responsibilities of the marshals and how they should be deployed.
So far, existing marshals have performed tasks such as directing pedestrians, providing information, cleaning touchpoints, and preventing mixing between groups.
Marshals are set to be introduced as the ‘Rule of 6’ is introduced across Britain today.
In England, it is now against the law to meet in a group larger than six people — either inside or outside — apart from some special circumstances, such as for work.
There are various exemptions to the new rules.