West Berkshire Council

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

See a summary of our Local Outbreak Control Plan and read our frequently asked questions. 

Advice and Guidance over the Easter weekend

We know its Easter weekend coming up and the weather looks to be lovely but this doesn't mean you can ignore the requests of staying at home.

Coronavirus: Stay home this Easter bank holiday weekend

We all need to play our part of staying at home to stop the spread of the virus to protect our NHS and save lives. The more we follow the rules, the sooner we can get back to normal.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government introduced the following national guidance:

  • Only go outside for the bare necessities such as food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms.

Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday 23 March. The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce these rules if they are not adhered to - including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

The Government guidelines are clear and more information on what you can and can't do can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do. Please be aware that this is an evolving situation and public advice may change.

We have some guidance here on how to have a safe Easter weekend:

Mental Health

Look after your physical and mental wellbeing by exercising at home using free online workout videos or in your garden, if you have one. Or take up a hobby, there are lots of free online services available such as learning a new language, learning how to draw, learning to sew, be a better cook and much more. For more information on health advice and services available to you in West Berkshire, including mental health support for children and domestic abuse, visit out dedicated Coronavirus health page here: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-residents-health.

Staying connected

  • You can stay at home but stay connected with friends and family using video calls, calling, texting, emailing and social media. Make sure you keep in touch with as many people as possible and check on neighbours and any vulnerable people you know. Having someone send a message or make a call to check on you makes people feel less isolated. Remember, we have the Community Support Hub in operation to help the most vulnerable and shielded residents. Do let us know if you need additional help or know someone who does. You can contact the Community Support Hub via:

The hub will operate:

Monday - Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm

Friday - Sunday 8:30am to 4:30pm

 

Travelling and exercising in parks or green spaces

  • Don't travel unnecessarily. Don't drive to a park, beach or the countryside for your daily dose of exercise when you could stay local and walk or cycle to green space. You can still go to the park for outdoor exercise once a day but only alone or with members of your household, not in groups. Use parks responsibly and keep 2 metres apart from others at all times.

Communal places within parks such as sports courts, playgrounds and outdoor gyms have been closed to protect everyone's health.

Remember: Unless you are with members of your household, gatherings of more than two people in parks and other public spaces have been banned. The Police have the powers to disperse gatherings and issue fines if necessary.

 

Keep hydrated and be sun aware

  • Just a little reminder to drink more water. When you are at home or out exercising and out of your usual routine it's easier to forget to keep yourself well hydrated. With all this good weather, water is needed for your body to function. Stay hydrated, stay healthy and stay safe.

Why not fill up a jug or large bottle with water and add some flavours such as lemon, lime or cucumber. This will act as a reminder to keep hydrated and taste great too.

  • Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest. In the UK, this is between 11am and 3pm from March to October.

    Make sure you:

    • spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm
    • make sure you never burn
    • cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
    • take extra care with children
    • use at least factor 30 sunscreen.

For more info on sun safety read more on the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/sunscreen-and-sun-safety.

 

Waste Services

 

Don't be tempted to light Bonfires, Chimineas, Fire Pits or anything else that emits lots of smoke

  • We have noticed more residents are lighting bonfires during this time. Although there are no laws against having a bonfire, a fire pit or lighting a chiminea, there are laws about causing a nuisance. It is an offence to burn trade waste and you will be prosecuted and fined. Smoke, or the smell of smoke from bonfires, can cause a statutory nuisance.

During this time we are urging you to think of others and please do not be tempted to light bonfires at home in the garden or in public spaces such as allotments. A lot of people are at home during this unprecedented time and are vulnerable - any one of your neighbours might have respiratory issues or even be fighting Covid-19. Smoke inhalation can impair breathing so during this difficult time please put their needs first and hold off with your bonfire. Be a good neighbour and think of others - remember, save lives and save the NHS.   

We understand with the household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) being closed that it is difficult for all but please be considerate with your actions and wait until the current emergency is over rather than burning things. For example, you can stockpile green waste, create a compost area or simply let the job wait until the HWRCs can re-open to the public.

For more information, please visit our Public Protection Partnership website: https://publicprotectionpartnership.org.uk/environmental-health/neighbourhood-concerns/smoke-and-bonfires/.

 

Should I have a BBQ or not?

  • During a time like this when the weather is calling for us to want to be outdoors, most people will want to dust off the BBQ, invite family and friends over and enjoy soaking up that Vitamin D. But things are very different now while we all work together to help save lives by staying at home to stop the spread of Covid-19.

There is nothing stopping you from having a BBQ but we are urging you to think of your family and neighbours before you light your BBQ and the effects the smoke could have on them.  A lot of people are at home and vulnerable, especially over the Easter weekend. Windows and doors will be open to let in some fresh air, especially for those who don't have a garden or the option to leave their home, or people will be making the most of the nice weather and sitting outside in their gardens. Be considerate as any one of your neighbours could be extremely vulnerable and might have respiratory issues or even be fighting Covid-19 which is a respiratory disease. Smoke inhalation can impair breathing so during this difficult time please put their needs first.  

Be a good citizen and warn your neighbours if you are going to have a BBQ - they are less likely to complain or will explain if they are vulnerable. Remember, you cannot invite people over to join your BBQ as this goes against the rules of staying at home, social distancing, and gatherings.

Instead, why not cook your food inside like you would normally, rather than using the BBQ, but enjoy sitting outside and eating it only with those who live in your household. You can even make it feel like you are with family and friends by video calling them while you are all virtually sitting around the dining table.

If a complaint is received about you having a gathering at your BBQ with people who don't live in your household then the Police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce the rules to people do not comply - including through fines and dispersing gatherings. Remember, don't put lives at risk this weekend. Stay home to slow the spread of the virus. 

 

These measures must be followed by everyone as they are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus. Play your part and keep on following the government's advice to:

  • Stay at home.
  • Protect our NHS.
  • Save lives.