COVID marshals take to Bristol streets in fight against coronavirus

Main image of one of the new COVID Marshalls courtesy of Bristol City Council.

A team of COVID marshals have been drafted in to Bristol’s streets to help the city halt the rising tide of coronavirus infections.

Since Friday (6 November), the specially trained marshals have been helping residents and businesses across the city to stay safe.

Their roles include offering advice on Government guidance and helping with queues and social distancing.

They are also handing out face masks and sanitiser and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

It is hoped they will help to increase public confidence in visiting essential shops during lockdown as well as shopping centres and high streets when restrictions are lifted.

While marshals cannot enforce regulations – they will work closely with Avon and Somerset Police and Bristol City Council officers to report any breaches.

Bristol City Mayor, Marvin Rees, said: “The new COVID marshals are one way we can all work together to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. The number of people who have been infected in the city has been rapidly rising over the past few weeks, and we can’t be complacent.

“While we all need to stay home as much as possible during lockdown, the COVID marshals will help you stay safe if you do need to go out during this challenging time. Working with local businesses, they will help everyone comply with the rules which are designed to prevent COVID-19 spreading…”

Mayor Rees asked that members of the public be kind and respectful to the marshals who were “doing their best in very difficult circumstances” and to cooperate if approached by them.

He added: “Now is the time for us to all pull together and do as much as we can to stop transmission of COVID-19 and ensure our city can re-open safely as soon as possible.”

Neighbourhood Chief Inspector Mark Runacres at Avon and Somerset Police said: “Our approach has always been to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the COVID-19 safety guidance, with enforcement action only taken against those who breach the legal requirements as a last resort.

“We welcome the support of the new COVID marshals in explaining to people how to follow the rules to help to keep our community safe.

“We have introduced a new team to respond to reports of coronavirus breaches and will be working closely with our partners to enforce the law when necessary.”

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that £60 million would be made available across the police and local authorities for compliance and enforcement activities.

Bristol has received £282,752 through this funding and the council has pledged to recruit a minimum of 16 marshals in the coming weeks to combat the spread of the virus.

If you live in or have visited an area that you think needs support from COVID marshals, email with your suggestions.

Find out more about COVID marshals and the latest government guidance on our website here.

Staying safe in lockdown

Under national lockdown measures, from Thursday 5 November, everyone must stay at home, and may leave only for a limited set of reasons.

These include:

  • For education;
  • For work, if you cannot work from home;
  • For exercise and leisure outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household;
  • For all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm;
  • To shop for food and essentials;
  • And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.