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Thu 25 March 2021:
Your regular update from Reading Borough Council on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can help
A message from Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock

We take the next step on the roadmap out of lockdown on Monday, with some of the rules on what you can do easing. Your response to the pandemic is helping us move in a direction that allows less restrictions. This includes getting vaccinated and following the rules - which we need to continue to do, especially with Easter coming up when families traditionally get together. Please be sensible.

From Monday 29 March:
  • you will be able to meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (each household can include existing support bubbles, if eligible)
  • you will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people as outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen. This will include clubs at Palmer Park, football sports pitches, tennis courts and outdoor gyms.
  • childcare and supervised activities will be allowed outdoors for all children
  • formally organised parent and child groups will be able to take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be not counted in this number

From 1 April, if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take extra precautions to protect yourself. It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. For more on the roadmap out of lockdown go to the Government website here.
 
Local elections were postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19 until this year, and on Thursday 6 May residents in Reading will be able to vote in those rescheduled Local Borough and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections. To be able to vote, you must be registered by 19 April. You can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote. I understand that some people may be reluctant or nervous about voting at a polling station whilst the fight against coronavirus continues, and if you would like to vote by post then you must have applied for a postal vote by 5pm on 20 April. Please see below for details on how to register to vote and apply for a postal vote.

Finally, post-Coronavirus it is possible that peak hour traffic will not return to previous levels due to flexible working arrangements and changes in travel behaviour towards cycling, walking and public transport. There is now less than a month left to have your say on our Active Travel proposals to support these ways of travel, whilst helping the local economy and tackling the climate emergency. We want to hear your views on our initial proposals in four areas of the Borough, developed in the context of uncertainty regarding changes to traffic flows and unknown future travel demand, post-COVID-19. Results from this initial engagement will help to decide what scheme(s) to progress to the next stage of development. You can read about the four proposed schemes and have your say on our website here
LOCAL ELECTIONS: HOW YOU CAN VOTE



On Thursday 6 May, residents in Reading will be voting in Local Borough and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections.
 
How can I vote at the May 2021 elections?
There are a number of ways to have your say - you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.
To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered to vote. The deadline to register is midnight on 19 April 2021.
 
How do I register to vote?
It takes 5 minutes to register and you can do this online at www.gov.uk/register-to-voteIf you're unable to register online, you can apply by post. You can download the relevant forms at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/register-vote-and-update-your-details 
 
If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don’t need to take any action. If in doubt, you can check with us on 0118 937 3717 or elections@reading.gov.uk
 
How can I apply to vote by post or proxy?
To apply to vote by post you need to download, print and fill in a postal vote application form. Once you have completed the form and signed it, you need to send it to the Electoral services team, Reading Borough Council, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading, RG1 2LU, or you can email scanned forms to Elections@reading.gov.uk.  If you can’t print the form, contact the Electoral Services Team so that a form can be posted to you.
 
If you want to vote by post, you can apply to do this now. This will make sure your application is processed early, and your postal vote can be sent to you more quickly once the candidates for the elections are confirmed.
 
If you aren't able to vote in person, you can ask someone you trust to vote for you. This is called a proxy vote and the person is often referred to as your proxy. To apply for a proxy vote, complete the form to vote by proxy, explaining why you can't get to your polling station in person. The person voting on your behalf can either go to your polling station to vote, or can apply to vote for you by post.
 
The deadline to apply for a postal vote in England and Wales is 5pm on 20 April.  The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5pm on 27 April.
 
If you already have a postal or proxy vote arrangement in place, and your details have not changed, you don't need to take any action. If in doubt, you can check with us at Elections@reading.gov.uk or 0118 937 3717.
 
Don’t forget that however you choose to vote, you must be registered first.
 
Is voting in person safe?
Polling stations will be safe places to vote. If you choose to vote in person, you can keep yourself and others safe by:
  • wearing a face covering
  • bringing your own pencil or pen
  • sanitising your hands when entering and leaving the polling station
  • keeping a safe distance

You should not attend the polling station if you have symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have been asked to self-isolate.
KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST COVID-19 RESPONSE NEWS FROM READING BOROUGH COUNCIL

With the latest advice and service information changing regularly, you can keep up to date by following our dedicated page to the Covid-19 response here: https://www.reading.gov.uk/coronavirus
Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter (links below) for regular updates.
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