Council to spend £900,000 enforcing COVID-19 lockdown compliance in Birmingham
Birmingham City Council will use almost £900,000 to support the enforcement and compliance of COVID-19 regulations to keep people safe from the pandemic’s risks, following news of a new lockdown.
In an announcement, the local authority said 46 officers, including eight dedicated to parks and open spaces, will be deployed across Birmingham to bolster the coronavirus response.
Of these officers, 24 “COVID marshals” will cover the city and likely be based in Business Improvement Districts. Part of their duties will be distributing face coverings free of charge to people not wearing them where appropriate.
The council’s Environmental Health team will receive 12 enforcement officers, to help meet rising workloads since the onset of the pandemic and the remaining eight will serve as park marshals to offer safety advice in open spaces.
The funding, a package from central government, will also be used to purchase related equipment and technology that the officers will need such as PPE, IT and body-worn cameras – in addition to the production of leaflets, letter drops to businesses and safety message signage in parks and at roadsides.
The remainder of the package will be split between universities and faith groups. The city’s universities will receive funding to promote COVID-19 safety messages on campus, particularly around Halls of Residence and supporting fresher year students.
Faith groups will receive advice on safe practices in their settings and some of the sectors following on from life events (wedding and funerals/wakes). A focus is set to be placed on COVID security to protect the elderly who wish to attend places of worship.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Working with the communities of Birmingham to keep people safe has never been more important and these measures will strengthen our collective response as we head into the winter, by focussing on specific areas where the new resources will have the greatest impact.
“We all have a part to play in protecting our loved ones, neighbours and colleagues and in addition to this enforcement package, we should all carry on with the basics of regular hand washing, wearing a face covering where required, keeping socially distant and getting tested when you have symptoms.
“If we all do these things, we will keep Birmingham as safe as possible.”
On Friday, the government announced a second national lockdown for England amid rising coronavirus cases across the country.
The lockdown will be enforced from Thursday 5 November, with renewed restrictions including the closure of non-essential shops and hospitality for 30 days, but a return of the Government’s furlough scheme.