No plans to axe Norfolk's Covid marshals just yet

Norwich COVID-19 support officers Rodney Eastwood and Alison Darling. Picture: Danielle Booden

Covid support officers in Norwich. - Credit: Danielle Booden

Covid marshals are being retained by Norfolk councils, despite coronavirus cases falling and restrictions easing.

Dozens of officers have been used by councils to help encourage people and businesses to heed government advice over Covid-19 and to comply with restrictions.

Those restrictions are being reduced and the next two steps on the government roadmap will, if the country remains on track over vaccines, infection rates, hospitalisations and variants, see further easing.

From May 17, pubs and restaurants could be allowed to welcome customers back inside, while children's indoors play areas, cinemas, hotels and B&Bs  will be allowed to reopen.

And, from June 21 the government hopes it might be able to remove all legal limits on social contact.

But, amid predictions of a third wave of the virus later in the year, some councils in other parts of the country are recruiting more.

The Norfolk councils which have responded to our queries have said they are not currently recruiting more.

But they have signalled that they do not intend to end the teams they had created just yet.

Norwich Covid support officers are visiting businesses to ensure guidelines are being followed. Pict

Covid support officers will remain in place. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

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Norwich City Council created a team of Covid-19 support officers last year after getting more than £90,000 from the government.

A City Hall spokesperson: “We are keeping the Covid-19 support officer roles under review and responding to any changes in the guidance around Covid-19.

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“But we anticipate we will continue to have some Covid-19 support officers working in Norwich during the summer.”

Broadland and South Norfolk councils, which recruited 20 Covid support advisors in December, said they would be keeping theirs until at least the end of March next year.

A spokesman said: "We will need their support to help with the recovery and to help through the winter months in case there is another wave at the end of this year."

West Norfolk Council said it had no current plans to bring its team of 10 to an end should restrictions be eased further next month.

Breckland Council confirmed its Covid officers will remain in place until at least the end of the year.

East Suffolk Council has not employed Covid marshals, but says it is keeping the situation under review.

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