Sandwell response to government COVID marshal call

Published 13th October 2020

Following the government’s call for local authorities to provide town centre COVID-19 marshals, Sandwell Council has teamed up with West Midlands Police community support officers.

Marshals will go out and about to talk to people, focusing on Sandwell’s six towns, focusing on the High Streets and busiest areas.

Council officers from the Environmental Protection, Neighbourhood and Anti-Social Behaviour teams are expanding their roles to incorporate marshal duties.

West Bromwich Business Improvement District is also supporting with ambassadors who will visit businesses and talk to shoppers and commuters.

The move is in response to the government’s announcement that councils would be introducing marshals to discourage large group gatherings, point out when face coverings should be worn and encourage social distancing.

Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “Government has said local authorities are expected to provide these marshals and I would like to thank the officers who are taking on the role, as part of their existing day jobs.

“Their brief is to explain government rules and educate people about how they can protect themselves, their loved ones and our whole community.

“We know some people are still confused about rules and guidance and we will be talking about why measures like not mixing households, social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing our hands are so vital.

“These are still the main messages and if we could just all stick to them I’m sure we would see our infection rates begin to go down.

“Sandwell is an area of high infection, hospital admissions are rising again and the expert public health advice at the moment is for people to stay home as much as possible – to stay safe and stop the virus spreading.

“But if you do need to go out please keep yourself informed and follow the rules.

“Our people will be in hi-vis, will be easily identified as council officers and will be introducing themselves as such.

“Don’t be shy about asking them for information – that’s why they’re there.”