Information about Coronavirus

What you can do from Monday May 17

A further easing of COVID-19 restrictions will come into effect from Monday 17 May. The changes mean more opportunities for family and friends to meet up outdoors, with new rules also now allowing indoor mixing again too.

From Monday 17 May

  • Up to 6 people or 2 households will be able to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.
  • You can make informed, personal decisions on close contact, such as hugging, with friends and family.
  • Indoor hospitality can reopen, such as pubs and restaurants
  • Indoor entertainment can restart, including cinemas, museums, and children’s play areas.
  • Organised adult sport and exercise classes can resume indoors and saunas and steam rooms may reopen.
  • All remaining outdoor entertainment can reopen, such as outdoor cinemas and performances.
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes. These can take place outdoors or at any indoor Covid secure venue that is permitted to open.
  • International travel can begin to safely reopen, allowing people to go on foreign holidays to ‘green’ list countries. Strict border control measures will remain in place, including pre-departure tests and a PCR test on or before day two of arrival back in the UK.
  • Care homes residents will be able to have up to five named visitors, with two visitors able to attend at once provided they are tested and follow infection control measures.
  • Face coverings will no longer be needed in classrooms or for students in communal areas in secondary schools and colleges. Twice weekly home testing will remain to control infection rates.
  • All remaining university students will be able to return to in-person teaching and learning from May 17, and should get tested twice a week upon return.

For the full list of new rules go to the Government website


Stay-at-home order ends in England

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.


Roadmap out of lockdown

Step 1 March 8

Step 3 & 4 Roadmap out of lockdown

One Reading Community Hub

If you need additional support, the One Reading Community Hub can help with urgent food and prescription needs, getting a priority supermarket delivery slot, or other issues such as debt, loneliness, stress and anxiety. You can contact the Hub:

Online at

By calling 0808 189 4325

Via Reading Deaf Centre on SMS 07704 687298 or fax 01189 500507

The Hub is a partnership between Reading Borough Council, Reading Voluntary Action and voluntary and community partners in the town.

NHS Volunteer Responders Service
A team of NHS volunteers are able to help people who need to self-isolate or are worried about going out by collecting their shopping, medicines and other important items, provide contact through regular friendly phone calls and give lifts to help you get to medical appointments. To arrange support for yourself or someone you know, call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

NHS Covid-19 APP

The NHS COVID-19 App is part of the large scale coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and contact tracing programme and will be used, alongside traditional contact tracing, to notify users if they come into contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus.

The NHS COVID-19 App alerts people at risk of coronavirus, asking them to isolate before they potentially pass the virus on to others as well as providing local area alerts and QR venue check-in.

The app will help the NHS understand if the virus is spreading in a particular area, and so local authorities can respond quickly to stop it spreading further and save lives.

The app does this while protecting a user’s anonymity. Nobody, including the government, will know who or where a particular user is.

NHS Test and Trace. Protect your loved ones. Get the App. NHS Covid-19 App download now. App Store. Google Play.
It has a number of features:

Trace: find out when you've been near other app users who have tested positive for

Alert: lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your
postcode district.

Check-in: get alerted if you've visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus, using a simple QR code scanner. No more form filling.

Symptoms: check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a test.

Test: helps you order a test if you need to.

Isolate: keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.

The app is available in the following languages:
• English
• Welsh
• Bengali
• Urdu
• Gujarati
• Punjabi (Gurmukhi script)
• Chinese (Simplified)
• Romanian
• Turkish
• Arabic (Modern Standard)
Additional languages and refinements will follow.

You can download an easy-read guide to the NHS COVID-19 App.


Wash your hands, cover your face and make space

 The Government says:

  • HANDS – Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • FACE – Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • SPACE – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place.


We must keep protecting each other. Hands. Face. Space



Face coverings and exemptions

From Friday 24 July 2020 we will all be required to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets, as well as on public transport. It must cover your nose and mouth at all times.

However, please remember you do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:

  • young children under the age of 11
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink, but only if you need to
  • to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication.

For further information on face coverings and free exemption cards and badges visit: 

Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make one - GOV.UK (


Test and Trace

If you have coronavirus symptoms

Anyone with a new, continuous cough, a high temperature of a change in their sense of smell or taste should immediately self-isolate and order a test. You need to get the test done in the first five days of having symptoms. Do not wait. Ask for the test as soon as you have symptoms.

If you have symptoms, stay home and contact NHS Test and Trace to arrange testing at or call 119. The phone line will be open between 8am and 5pm on weekdays. Emails will be monitored between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week.

As soon as you develop symptoms:

Self-isolate for at least 7 days - this applies to everyone, even if you have already had the virus. Anyone else in your household should self-isolate for 10 days from when you started having symptoms

Test - report these symptoms and book a test or call 119

• You can ask for a test of someone you live with, including children of all ages, if they have coronavirus symptoms.

If you are an essential worker or live with an essential worker, including NHS or social care staff, or have a verification code from your employer, you can book at test at



The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat. When you order a test, you will get information on the options available. The different ways you can get tested are:

•book a visit to a drive-through regional testing site – Call 119

•order a home testing kit delivered to your door. You can test yourself and your family without leaving your house. You will need to swab your children if they are under 11 – Call 119.



You should get your test results within 48 hours of a swab being taken, or within 72 hours for a home test. If your test is positive you must complete the remainder of your 7 day self-isolation. Anyone in your household should also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms.

If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to isolate.


Share Contacts

If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace service will contact you by phone, text or email within 24 hours with instructions on how to share details of people you have been in close, recent contact with, and places you have visited. It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that the other people can be contacted. You will be asked to do this on a secure website or by phone with an NHS contract tracer. Find out more at



The information you give will be confidential and will only be used by NHS Test and Trace service to contain the virus. It will not be shared with other bodies. Even if you have not self-isolated or obeyed social distancing, the information you give will not be shared.


Isolating when you live with a vulnerable person

Where possible, people who are self-isolating should not share a household with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable and is shielding. If you live with someone higher risk from coronavirus, try to arrange for them  to stay with friends or family for 14 days.

If you have to stay in the same home together, this is reminder about how to avoid spreading coronavirus to people you live with –Do:

wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds

use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

clean objects and surfaces you touch often (such as door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products

consider wearing a face covering when in shared spaces

keep windows open in the room you're staying in and shared spaces as much as possible


do not share towels, including hand towels and tea towels.

Easy read guide to getting a test at the Royal Berkshire Hospital

Download an easy read guide to shielding guidance.


£10 million to help disabled or seriously ill children in England during Coronavirus

Families with children who have complex needs and disabilities can apply for a grant from Family Fund for vital equipment to make their lives easier during the pandemic including computers, specialist equipment and educational toys.

£10 million of the total £37 million of direct support announced by the Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford today, is committed specifically in response to the unique difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic, helping parents educate and look after disabled or critically ill children who are staying at home more than usual.

The government hopes that this will help low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children with the cost of items they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Families who care for children with  complex needs and disabilities in England can find out more and apply for grants directly from Family Fund  - a charity that specialises in providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

The grants available are typically worth £400 to £500 per family but will vary depending on need.

Vicky Ford, Children and Families Minister, said “Our first priority remains the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. I know that these unprecedented times may put additional pressure on families, particularly those whose children have the most complex needs, and these parents deserve some extra help to look after and educate them at home.

“From computers and tablets to household items that many of us take for granted, this new funding will directly benefit tens of thousands of families, making sure parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities get the support they need at this difficult time and beyond.”

Check if you are eligible to apply. Call us on 0118 966 2518 if you need help to apply.



Download an easy read guide to Coronavirus 

Comprehensive guidance, topic by topic, can be found on the website

The website also has also Stay at Home information in other languages

Information on symptoms, what the virus does, and what to do if you think you may have it

Download an easy read guide about What Happen if I go into Hospital

Download an easy read guide about Covid-19 and Loss and Grief


Wokingham Community Support - One Front Door Service

For Wokingham Borough residents who need additional support. 

Call 0300 330 1198 or visit Community support for Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Wokingham Borough Council


West Berkshire Community Support hub

For West Berkshire residents who need additional support. 

Call 01635 503579 or visit West Berkshire Council - Welcome - Information



Oxfordshire Community Support hub

For Oxfordshire residents who need additional support. 

Call 01865 249811 Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm. Emergency cover out-of-hours.




Jobcentre changes in Tier 4 (Stay at home) areas

  • Jobcentres remain open to provide essential services to those who cannot access services remotely.
  • All face-to-face assessments will be suspended, except for vulnerable customers who will still be able to attend jobcentres for urgent support.
  • Work Coaches will be empowered to support customers by the best and most appropriate channels - whether online, by phone, or in person - with jobcentres remaining open to help those who need extra support and are unable to interact with us on the phone or digitally.
  • All jobcentres to remain open - maintaining social distancing and regular desk and communal space cleaning in line with current COVID-19 guidance.
  • Face-to-face assessments for disability benefits remain suspended.
  • If you think you might be entitled to a health and disability benefit, you should contact us as soon as possible to make a claim in the normal way.
  • For existing customers, payments will continue as normal. Anyone who has a change in their needs should contact us immediately so we can ensure they are receiving the correct level of support.

Anyone already claiming Universal Credit who thinks they may have been affected by coronavirus, should contact their work coach using their:

  • online journal, or
  • calling the Universal Credit helpline: 0800 328 5644.  

The standard rate in Universal Credit and tax credits will be increased by £20 a week for one year from 6 April 2020. 

People applying for Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance or other benefits should not go to a jobcentre but apply for them online.

Visit the Understanding Universal Credit website for more information. 


You can access support online at

Telephone: 0800 055 6688

Textphone: 0800 023 4888

Universal Credit Helpline: 0800 328 5644

In an emergency only, call Reading Jobcentre Plus on 0118 980 8304. They will call you back to minimise the cost to you.