HART INTRODUCE COVID COMPLIANCE TEAM
Following the December announcement that Hart District Council would be funding Covid Marshals in the local area, the stakes are being raised today with the introduction of a new “Covid Compliance Team”. The team will consist of representatives from Environmental Health, Licensing and Community Safety, as well the council’s new “Covid Enforcement Officer”, who joined the council last week.
The idea behind the new team is to provide a public presence in local areas and to “monitor local hot spots”. Businesses that remain open will also be checked for covid compliance and anyone out walking or exercising may find themselves having to prove that they are from the local area. Anyone not deemed to be following covid guidance may find themselves presented with a Covid Improvement Notice, an Immediate Restrictions Notice or a Fixed Penalty Notice.
So will local people welcome the new enforcements or resent them?
Below: The announcement from Hart District Council:
The funding of the Covid Marshals didn’t appear to be a popular choice amongst residents, with some questioning the point of people with no enforcement powers. There was also the issue of how much funding them would cost, especially with HDC facing an overspend of almost £1 million in the last year alone. So will they be a part of the new team too? There has been no mention of them.
While the majority locally are respectful of the restrictions we are all living under, there are certainly those who resent the lack of freedom and choice that defines our daily lives during the pandemic but will this be enough to change their minds…or at least their behaviour?
It certainly raises many questions, as while residents may find themselves having to justify being outside their homes, what about the local shops that have found tiny loopholes to stay open, when they are fully aware they aren’t a truly essential business? What about those not wearing masks who claim they are exempt but aren’t – will they be required to show proof of this? It’s also all very well popping into local supermarkets to make sure they are covid complaint…but what of the customers that bundle up together in the aisles to fight over the last pack of loo roll…will it really stop that happening?
It remains to be seen whether this is just an exercise in expensive virtue signalling or whether this really will make a difference. With even tougher national restrictions looking likely, let’s hope it’s the latter.
What are your views on it?
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