COVID marshal scheme extended

COVID marshals are to remain in place throughout Bristol until at least March next year – as work continues to keep infection rates down and support the city through recovery.

A team of 16 marshals was introduced across the city in November 2020, to help support residents and businesses to comply with COVID-19 guidance.

Bristol City Council’s Cabinet has agreed to keep them in place for at least a further six months to build on this community work.

In just over nine months – as well as helping resolve issues in shopping areas, parks and green spaces – the council reports marshals have completed over 17,000 COVID-19 related inspections across the city. They have also given out information to residents and offered advice to hundreds of businesses.

Director for Communities and Public Health Christina Gray said: “From handing out face coverings to supporting our most vulnerable residents, our marshals have been absolutely integral in our response to coronavirus in Bristol.

“Throughout all the changes to the regulations and guidance, COVID marshals have been an important ‘boots on the ground’ team throughout the city that can respond to and help to resolve issues quickly.

“As our response to the pandemic has changed, so has the role of the marshals. Retaining our marshals team as we look ahead to the winter months, where we will see more circulation of seasonal illnesses such as colds and flu, will help us to protect all residents in the city and particularly those more vulnerable communities.”

COVID-19 marshals do not have powers to enforce COVID-19 regulations but their role is instead to ‘engage, explain, and encourage best practice’ based on national guidance. Funding for them to carry out this work has come from the government.

Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Bristol One City, Cllr Ellie King said: “Working closely on the ground with residents, GP practices and businesses, our COVID marshals have built strong, trusted connections within local communities.

“Recently their work to support the delivery of vaccination clinics across Bristol – particularly in areas with high levels of vaccine hesitancy – has been crucial to increasing vaccination coverage in the city.

“There is still more work to be done as we look ahead to the colder months, and having a trusted and responsive team of professionals to help us keep rates of infection down will be very important to our city recovery.”

For further information about Bristol’s response to coronavirus, visit the local authority website.

For information about vaccinations, visit the Healthier Together website.