Local government has been blindsided by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that an army of COVID marshals will enforce tough new rules.
The MJ understands that Mr Johnson’s announcement that councils will be given tougher powers to tackle businesses flouting COVID-19 rules came out of the blue to senior managers and councillors, with Downing Street’s plan only raised with the Local Government Association (LGA) hours before.
Under the changes, it will become mandatory for premises to collect contact details of customers so they can be reached in the event of a local outbreak and councils will have powers to take action when rules are being flouted.
Chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said that the failure of some premises to collect contact details had been a ‘danger to communities, putting people at risk of infection’.
She said: ‘Given the shortage of environmental health officers (EHO), it is positive that the Government has committed to a register of EHOs and the LGA will continue discussions to take this forward.’
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