COVID secure marshals will not be deployed in Cheshire West and Chester’s town centres for the time being, the council confirmed.

When asked by the LDRS if the authority planned to bring in any marshals, a CWAC spokesperson said: “There are no immediate plans to introduce COVID marshals as we already have a range of similar measures in place, including our Capable Guardians (a team of Council officers), our Environmental Health officers and our network of Community Champions. 

“The situation is constantly and rapidly changing, however, and we are regularly reviewing our approach to ensure the public are protected and the spread of the virus is prevented as far as possible.”

This is the same approach as taken by CWAC’s neighbours, Cheshire East, which raised concerns over the roles and funding of the marshals.

CWAC officials share the same concerns, saying: “We share the view of the Local Government Association that any new responsibilities for managing COVID marshals will have to be fully funded by government, and we are waiting for information on what additional resources and responsibilities and powers will be provided to local authorities.”

Currently, no funding has been announced by the government, but it has said that marshals can either be volunteers or existing members of council staff.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and  Local Government, said: “We are encouraging the introduction of marshals to help support our high streets and public spaces, making sure 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 councils to see where else they are needed.”

The spokesperson added that local authorities were ‘best placed’ to determine the exact responsibilities of the marshals and how they should be deployed.

So far, existing marshals have performed tasks such as directing pedestrians, providing information, cleaning touchpoints, and preventing mixing between groups.

Marshals were set to be introduced as the ‘rule of 6’ was introduced across Britain this week.

In England, it is now against the law to meet in a group larger than six people — either inside or outside — apart from some special circumstances, such as for work.

There are various exemptions to the new rules, which can be found on the government’s website.