A LUDLOW councillor wants to know if people in the town think that ‘shopping the shops’ is sensible public health advice in the present situation or a snoopers’ charter.

Are the publicans, restaurateurs, shopkeepers obeying and enforcing the rules on social distancing, the wearing of face coverings and providing hand sanitiser?

Shropshire Council wants to know.

“This invitation to ‘shop the shops’ may make some people feel uncomfortable,” said Mr Boddington.

“Shropshire Council has a role alongside the police in enforcing and handing out fines. It is recruiting its citizens to spy on each other. Is that a good thing?

“As our county heads towards Tier 2 restrictions, Shropshire Council is appealing to residents to report on businesses that are not complying with restrictions.

“It is also asking for positive comments about businesses that observe the rules.”

Mr Boddington is unhappy with the approach that asked people to report shops, restaurants and pubs for non-compliance.

“Some will welcome this opportunity to report on breaches of the restrictions,” he added. “Others will think this is a snooper’s charter.

“My view is that the community consensus on dealing with the worst public health crisis of this century is being undermined by the snoopers’ charter being proposed by Gwilym Butler, the cabinet member for Covid-19 enforcement.

“We need to work together. To shop together. Not shop each other. Let’s leave that for the police (101 for breaches) and the unknown number of Shropshire Council officers who are out encouraging businesses to obey the rules.

Shropshire Council’s move arises from an extension of the council’s responsibilities to monitor Covid-19 compliance, funded by additional government money.

“The council employs people – commonly known as Covid marshalls,” added Mr Boddington.