COVID support marshals have been launched in York to ensure shoppers and businesses stick to the guidelines and discourage people from gathering – including on New Year’s Eve.
City of York Council said the marshals will support residents, visitors and businesses to maintain covid guidelines and ‘protect the people and places we love.’
“The new officers will provide advice and help to businesses and people,” said a spokeswoman.
“They will be reminding restaurateurs or licensees about Covid guidelines, advising shoppers about face coverings, challenging group sizes or supporting covid-safe queuing to enter busy premises or at bus stops and taxi ranks.
“The marshals will also help discourage people from gathering, including at New Year’s Eve when people will be asked to celebrate at home and not linger in town after closing time.
“They will also be visiting outlying centres of York too, to help local communities and businesses follow the regulations.”
She said all the marshals would carry City of York Council identification and would never ask for money, and added that anyone wishing to report concerns about how Covid regulations were being observed should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for safer communities, said the marshals would provide additional and more targeted support for North Yorkshire Police officers and BID rangers, who were already working hard to keep York’s businesses safe and open.
“They are a welcome addition to help keep the city a safe place for all,” she said.
Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for economy and strategic planning, said he hope they would support confidence in social distancing in the city centre, and reassure businesses who had put so much effort into QR codes for track and trace, and hand sanitisers.
“Ensuring that there is consistent observance of guidelines will help reduce infection rates and allow businesses and jobs to continue in the run up to Christmas,” he said.
Sharon Stoltz, director of public health, said: “Helping people stay safe has a direct impact on keeping the places we love open.
“These new officers will play a valuable role in supporting us all to socially distance and to support businesses by signposting them to sources of advice on covid infection control measures, licensing, grants and other matters.”