Coronavirus marshals are showing ‘yellow cards’ to people flouting lockdown rules, a video has shown.
The cards, more frequently seen on a football or rugby pitch, have been brandished by high-vis wearing ‘Covid Community Protection Officers’ in Gloucestershire who warn rulebreakers that a second yellow will result in the police being called.
The cautions have no legal weight and have been described as “a symbolic gesture” to try and get members of the public to adhere to lockdown restrictions.
Eight officials are being employed to patrol the streets of Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stroud and Tewkesbury.
According to a statement from Gloucestershire County Council: “Although the new officers do not have an enforcement role, they can as a very last resort, issue yellow cards to people who seriously or repeatedly flout advice given to them, which could lead to a fine from Police or their local council.”
A video has been shared on social media where a group of people are being confronted by two officers.
It is understood that the footage was filmed in Stratford Park, Stroud, where dozens attended an anti-lockdown rally on November 7, which saw the organiser fined £10,000.
In the clip, the marshal waving the caution says: “Carry on walking, if you won’t leave I will give you a yellow card.”
A person filming on his phone replies: “Yellow card? What is it?”
A second officer then responds, saying: “A yellow card is what we give you if you breach Covid regulations.
“You have also been to a protest up the road.
“You’ve been walking around the park where the protest has been taking place and you’ve been stood there watching, therefore you’ve breached the Covid regulations because you’re not exercising, you’re in a gathering.
“We issue a yellow card as a first warning and we issue the second yellow card as a final warning and that’s when police will come and enforce it by fining you.”
Council officials stressed that the officers had an “ambassadorial role” and are “supporting the public and businesses to do all they can to reduce the spread of Covid in Gloucestershire.”
“They are more likely to hand out free face masks or hand gel. The yellow cards for disobedience are symbolic gestures,” according to one source.
In a joint statement the leaders of the councils involved said: “These continue to be tough times for us all and we want to do all we can to help people to be aware of the things they can do to keep themselves and others safe and most importantly reduce the spread of Covid in the county.
“Although increasing, the number of cases remains low compared to many other places. We want to make sure it stays that way and would encourage everyone to play their part by remembering three simple things: hands, face and space.”