Newly-recruited COVID marshals are out and about in Weymouth.
Working closely with Dorset-based Event Security Southern LTD, Dorset Council is using recently awarded government funding to train and deploy dedicated staff to work with the public and business owners in specific local areas to ensure they are ‘COVID-19 secure’.
The authority says it has spent most of the year supporting local businesses with COVID-19 secure guidance through telephone conversations and non-visible contact. These methods have been found to be effective and efficient, so this will continue.
The council hopes that in providing a ‘frontline’ presence people will be more confident when visiting Dorset’s high streets and town centres.
On Thursday 5 November marshals were out in Weymouth’s harbourside and beachfront areas, as these were reported as potential hotspots for people to congregate together.
While the police and select council officers will continue to have enforcement powers, COVID Marshals have been tasked with engaging, explaining and encouraging best practice and national COVID-19 secure guidance.
The marshals will promote social distancing and encourage people to follow COVID-19 public health measures, while explaining guidelines to businesses and the general public. They will work with local businesses on measures like queue management, advising on one-way systems and social distancing in queues.
The marshals will also remind people to wear face-coverings where required and encourage social distancing in busy areas. They can also help prevent mixing between groups in night-time economy areas, raising any issues to local authority compliance and enforcement officers if guidelines are not being followed.
While the marshals are currently active in Weymouth, Dorset Council can deploy them anywhere in the county where it is felt they are needed. They will continue to be active over the next few months.
Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Customer Services and Communities, 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. “Whether it’s warning people not to congregate or providing advice and guidance to businesses as they operate, these marshals have a vital role to play in bolstering public confidence and supporting our local economy.”
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