Covid ambassadors to assist in North Kesteven

Date Published: 15 January 2021

Two Covid safety ambassadors will work across the District to protect the health of communities while supporting public confidence in local high streets and retail areas.

Working as a pair for North Kesteven District Council and fully trained for the role, they will explain, engage and encourage best practice and compliance for businesses in various settings.  

They will cover different times of day as part of their shift patterns and will work to identify and support those businesses that are open and found not to be following the Government’s Covid Secure guidelines.  

They will also speak with customers not complying with the Covid guidance, for example not wearing a face covering unless exempt, wearing one incorrectly or ignoring social distancing inside essential shops, and encourage them to stick to it to protect themselves and others.

The first of the two ambassadors – Joe Walker – started work on Monday 11 January. He’s putting his previous experience as a pub General Manager in Old Somerby to use as well as training received specifically for the role. He’s due to be joined by the second ambassador next week.

The Covid safety ambassadors will never call to a residential property, only working within business premises and public spaces. They will be easily identifiable with uniforms including high visibility vests, and carry identification documents from the Council.

Council Leader Councillor Richard Wright said: “As Coronavirus cases continue at this high level in our District, across the county and nationally, the assistance of Covid safety ambassadors in North Kesteven could save lives.

“We’re also acutely aware of the importance of supporting residents in using their local high streets and centres to access essential goods and how vital this is for our local businesses.

“The role of the Covid safety ambassadors will be to work across North Kesteven explaining the Covid guidance and encouraging and engaging with both people and businesses not following it as they should, to help avoid the virus spreading further through our communities.

“They’ll work with Environmental Health Officers, police and other partners, and where unavoidable and necessary escalate issues to them, to protect the health of all in our District.

“In the main however the presence of these ambassadors in our retail and high street areas will be a reassuring one, increasing people’s confidence while also working to reduce transmission of the virus.”

The ambassadors will be in place until the end of March in the District and are being provided using Government funding identified specifically for this purpose.

The ambassadors have undergone further training on Coronavirus to complement their existing skills. They are also required to carry bodycams as a precaution. They do not hold the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices, which remains the remit of police and Local Authority enforcement officers.

Any business matters requiring enforcement would be escalated to the relevant partners including the local Environmental Health Team. 

Covid Safety Ambassador Joe Walker (left)