A message and advice from Wokingham Borough Council:
As we count down to the festive season and gear up to spend time with loved ones, we want to ensure all our residents do what they can to stay safe and protected from Covid-19 and other winter viruses.
So, while we wish you a blessed Christmas, we are reminding you to take all the right precautions so that you have a memorable time. Here are our top 12 tips for staying Covid-safe this festive season.
1. Stay safe when doing your Christmas shopping
If you’re heading into town to shop, remember to pack your face covering, as it’s now compulsory to wear one inside shops. Many local retailers are practising good hygiene by providing hand sanitiser, so use this too.
Please also be respectful to staff – always, but especially during these busy times. Visit our website for tips on staying safe during a pandemic.
2. Enjoy local outdoor activities
There are lots of exciting events happening in the borough this month, from Christmas Fayres to the synthetic outdoor ice rink. Meeting outside where Covid-19 particles can blow away will be much safer for you and your loved ones. Visit our website for details of our Christmas events.
3. Get protected ahead of the festive break
Remember, it takes two weeks for your immunity to build from the Covid-19 vaccine, so make sure you book yours to get protected over the Christmas season and beyond. Book your vaccine appointment on the NHS website.
4. Check foreign travel rules
If you’ll be enjoying the festivities outside of the UK, remember to check foreign travel advice, arrange any Covid-19 tests you need for entry, access your NHS Covid Pass to prove your vaccination status and check what you need to do when you return to England.
This now includes taking a PCR test at the end of the second day of your arrival and self-isolating until you have a negative test result. Visit the Gov.uk website for travel advice this season.
5. Stock up on rapid tests
Remember, 1 in 3 people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms, so stock up on your rapid tests ahead of the festive season. Taking regular lateral flow tests means you can check you aren’t infected and unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
There are several ways to get them – including ordering them through the Gov.uk website or collecting them from local test centres.
6. Look out for vulnerable people
Older relatives, friends, and neighbours; be sure to check in on them to see if there’s anything they need during the busy festive period. You can also refer them to the One Front Door website for help and support during these challenging times.
7. Stay home if you’re feeling unwell
It’s tempting to brush the sniffles off, but remember, Covid-19 symptoms can vary from person to person. If you’re feeling unwell, it’s best to stay home to avoid passing any illnesses onto others. Consider booking a PCR test on the Gov.uk website to check you aren’t infected.
8. Enjoy your festivities safely
Whether you’re out with your friends, family, colleagues, or anyone else, take precautions to stay safe, keep Covid at bay and have fun this Christmas by taking a lateral flow test before meeting others, getting vaccinated and self-isolating if you test positive.
9. Take care on public transport
Heading to a festive activity? Or travelling to another part of the country for the Christmas break? It is now mandatory to wear a face-covering on public transport in England (unless you are exempt).
Remember to plan ahead and try to avoid rush hour if you can. Find out tips on travelling on public transport safely on the Gov.uk website.
10. Have a backup plan in case you get ill or need to self-isolate
Make sure you have enough medication in case you are unable to go out and ensure you get your prescription medicines before pharmacies close on Christmas Eve. Visit our self-isolation webpage for advice.
11. Don’t forget – help is here
The festive season can be a hard time for many, so check in on friends and family, and access local and national support lines if you are struggling. Our online Local Support Hub website can help with a range of issues from finance to health.
12. Host your festive activities safely
Have friends or family coming over during the holidays? Viruses can spread easily when we’re gathered inside, so make sure you let fresh air in by opening a window or door and practising good hand hygiene. Visit our website for tips on staying safe.
Most of all, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!