Councils recruiting Covid marshals until 2022 despite plans to end restrictions

New Covid marshals are being recruited in some areas across England for the coming year despite Government plans to lift remaining coronavirus restrictions on June 21.

Hertfordshire County Council is among those advertising for Covid marshals, with the local authority offering a contract worth an estimated £3 million to a provider that can supply 60 marshals from July 1 until January 31 next year.

The contract also comes with a possible one-year extension to 2023.

In its description of the marshals’ duties, the contract notice reads: “Provide practical support to aid and encourage compliance, such as dedicated staff in public areas, business support, or support for individuals.”

It continues: “Introduce measures to aid public and business awareness and understanding of regulations and guidance.”

Hertfordshire County Council defended its decision to recruit marshals, saying it is “not indicative of any increases in restrictions from July 2021 onwards”.

In a statement, Jim McManus, director of Public Health for Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We know that the virus is still circulating and will be for some time.

“We know from last year that numbers of infections can change rapidly, and Government are very clear that we should plan in case a third wave arises.

“It would be a dereliction of duty not to prepare for a third wave, at the same time as doing all we can to prevent it happening by keeping infections as low as possible so we can enjoy summer with no restrictions.

“Covid marshals are a very effective asset in the fight against Covid-19 and one of the key ways we manage local outbreaks as they continue to occur in our communities.”