Social media users mock Boris Johnson's army of 'Covid marshals'

Boris Johnson today announced a team of 'Covid-secure marshals' to help enforce new rules on social gatherings.  

From Monday it will be illegal to assemble in groups of seven or more anywhere in England, whether indoors or out, with specific workers now being introduced to help ensure social distancing is being followed in towns and cities. 

Police have the power to arrest rule-breakers if needed, as well as fining them £100, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200.

But the Prime Minister also announced the rolling out of additional boots on the ground in a bid to give councils tougher powers to crack down on those not obeying the law.

Mr Johnson told a No10 press conference: 'We will boost the local enforcement capacity of local authorities by introducing Covid-secure marshals to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres, and by setting up a register of environmental health officers that local authorities can draw upon for support.'

Boris Johnson today announced a team of 'Covid-secure marshals' to help enforce new rules on social gatherings

Boris Johnson today announced a team of 'Covid-secure marshals' to help enforce new rules on social gatherings

The Local Government Association welcomed the move, but called for more clarity on the role of marshals, while social media users suggested the idea would create an army of power-hungry snoopers.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Chair of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board said: 'Councils continue to work tirelessly to support communities through this pandemic and to ensure they are prepared for the threat of a potential second wave.

'Most hospitality businesses are working hard, supported by councils, to ensure they comply with COVID-19 rules. However, some premises are not collecting contact details of customers so they can be reached in the event of a local outbreak. 

'This is clearly a danger to communities and puts people at risk of infection, so it is good that this will become mandatory as councils have called for.

'While most businesses are implementing the necessary measures to protect people's safety, we are pleased the Government has also acted on LGA calls for councils to have powers to take action when rules are being flouted. 

'These measures will mean they can act quickly and proactively in cracking down on places that flout COVID-19 guidance, to prevent problems in the first place instead of only being able to act when it is too late.

'We need to quickly see further detail on how the Government's COVID-19 Secure Marshal scheme is intended to work, and any new responsibilities for councils in this area will have to be fully funded. 

'Given the shortage of environmental health officers, it is positive that the Government has committed to a register of EHOs, and the LGA will continue discussions to take this forward.'

On Twitter, however, dozens of people ridiculed the idea, and described them as sounding like 'the worst sort of busybodies'.

In a series of memes, users compared the marshals to popular bumbling TV characters such as Keith Lard from Phoenix Nights, The Simpsons' Chief Wiggum and Gareth Keenan from The Office.    

In a series of memes, social media users compared the Covid marshals to popular bumbling TV characters such as Keith Lard from Phoenix Nights

In a series of memes, social media users compared the Covid marshals to popular bumbling TV characters such as Keith Lard from Phoenix Nights

Gareth Keenan, assistant to the regional manager in The Office, was also suggested as someone who the marshals could be modelled on

Gareth Keenan, assistant to the regional manager in The Office, was also suggested as someone who the marshals could be modelled on

Bumbling policeman Chief Wiggum from The Simpsons was another character referenced by mocking social media users

Bumbling policeman Chief Wiggum from The Simpsons was another character referenced by mocking social media users

NEW LOCKDOWN RULES FOR ENGLAND FROM MONDAY 
Max social gatherings SIX PEOPLE Applies indoors and outdoors Applies in private homes Applies in pubs and restaurants Does NOT apply to schools or workplaces Does NOT apply to weddings, funerals, team sport Does NOT apply if household bubbles are bigger than six people Police will be encouraged to break up larger groups and issue £100 fines, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200

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Regarding the six people rule, Mr Johnson added: 'This will apply in any setting, indoors or outdoors, at home or in the pub.

'The ban will be set out in law and it will be enforced by the police - anyone breaking the rules risks being dispersed, fined and possibly arrested.

'This single measure replaces both the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing two households to meet indoors. Now you only need to remember the rule of six.'

The PM also warned the draconian new restrictions could be here for months - as chief medical officer Chris Whitty pointed the finger at 'Generation Z' for sparking a surge in cases.

The PM signalled that the 'rule of six' limit on how many people can socialise

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