FROM Monday, September 14, gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England, the UK government has said, with 'Covid marshals' supporting local authorities in policing this restriction.

However, it is still unclear how the government intends to implement this in conjunction with local councils.

When asked about their plans for the new scheme, a spokesperson for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council said: "Further details are yet to be provided by central government on how the COVID marshalls will operate and how funding will be deployed to local councils if there is any expectation that they will pick this up."

This echoes the concerns of Nesil Caliskan, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA’s) Safer and Stronger Communities Board, as reported yesterday by PA Media.

“We need to quickly see further detail on how the Government’s Covid-19-secure marshal scheme is intended to work, and any new responsibilities for councils in this area will have to be fully funded," she said. 

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We are encouraging the introduction of Covid-secure marshals to help support our high streets and public spaces, making sure that 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 local authorities to see where else they are needed. We will be setting out further details in due course.”

Where they have already been introduced, the duties of Covid marshals include “directing pedestrians, providing information, cleaning touchpoints, preventing mixing between groups and being a point of contact for information on government guidelines”.