Late night marhsals patrol weekend 'hot spot' areas in Chipping Sodbury
MARSHALS are patrolling 'hotspot' areas outside Chipping Sodbury pubs to persuade drinkers to act sensibly, as fears of a second wave of coronavirus rise.
Pubs and other licensed premises began reopening in July after a three-month closure to limit the spread of Covid-19.
South Gloucestershire Council first introduced drinking marshals after the government allowed licensed premises to make off sales so that people can drink in the street at a safe distance from each other.
The authority has identified two 'hotspot' areas – Chipping Sodbury High Street and Kingswood – where the marshals are now on duty on Friday and Saturday nights, a council spokesperson said.
Two are in Kingswood between 11pm and 3.30am and two are at Chipping Sodbury between 10pm and 1am on both days of the week.
They are there to persuade drinkers to act “sensibly and responsibly” and to identify problem drinkers so they can be stopped from being served any more alcohol.
“Hot spots are a geographic areas and do not relate to individual premises,” the spokesperson said.
The council meets weekly with police to determine whether any other areas need patrolling, whether extra marshals are needed and at what times.
The marshals, who are not necessarily tied to one location and can move about as required, wear uniforms and body cameras.
They are not costing the council any extra money since they are taxi marshals who have been redeployed, according to the council spokesperson.
They will stay in place for as long as required.
Frampton Cotterell ward Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Lean, whose questions to the Conservative administration revealed the new scheme, said he was pleased the council was supporting pubs to enforce social distancing guidelines.
He said: “I feel it’s important that pubs are particularly supported with reopening, given the potential difficulty of enforcing social distancing guidelines within their environments where, after a drink or two, it’s likely that customers will find it harder to stick to the guidelines.
“Clearly public health is of paramount importance and we should find ways of ensuring the public adhere to the social distancing guidelines, but I feel additional support should be provided to pubs to assist with this.
“Otherwise enforcement becomes yet another responsibility for landlords – an additional responsibility coming at a time when the industry is already facing significant challenges post-lockdown.”
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service