AS WELL as pubs and restaurants, playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be opening across Reading this weekend.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) announced it has been working hard on plans to reopen all of its play areas as quickly as possible, in anticipation of the government’s decision to allow the reopening of these sites to the public.

In order for this to be done safely, it will need to take a phased approach in Reading - with some sites opening before others.

READ MORE: Climate strikes, Love Island and cockroaches - here's what made the news this time last year

The sites prioritised for opening on Saturday (July 4), have been chosen to provide a fair geographical spread across the borough so that no one will be far away from an open playground.

To find out which site is open near you, click here.

Remaining play areas unopened on July 4 will be phased back into use as soon as possible, with the aim of opening by the start of the school holidays on July 22.

The council is urging people not to use the equipment on the closed sites in the interim, as final essential safety checks, repairs and maintenance need to be carried out, including the manual removal of weeds.

The lack of use at all of the sites for over three months has presented its own set of challenges for the council’s parks team to address.

When using newly reopened playgrounds, people are strongly encouraged to stick to coronavirus safety advice, to help avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Anyone displaying symptoms of coronavirus must not visit a play area. Other advice includes:

  • Adults and children maintain a minimum 1m+ distance from others
  • If the playground is busy, consider coming back when it is quieter
  • Bring and use hand sanitiser or wet wipes before and after play
  • Wash hands before you come and when you return home
  • Put rubbish in litter bins or take litter home
  • Stay safe, be kind, protect others

Councillor Karen Rowland, Reading’s lead member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: "I'm absolutely delighted we are days away from welcoming families back into our playgrounds.

"We have been working around the clock to open as many of our play areas as possible – with a huge amount of preparation work taking place over the last few months in anticipation for when we could allow access again.

"We want Reading's children back into our much-loved playgrounds and to finally allow them to burn off some of the energy from all that time indoors.

"I know how eager many residents are to use our popular outdoor gyms as well."

Cllr Rowland also reminded people to remain mindful of the current coronavirus guidance, adding: "It really needs all of us to use common sense and our sense of shared community responsibility to allow playgrounds to be safe for everyone to use.

"So please think about wiping down the equipment you are using before and after, so you are respecting the safety of others.

"To date, we have significantly invested in parks, open spaces and play areas across the borough, including enhancements to make playgrounds more accessible.

"This investment is ongoing, and now that we are moving out of lockdown, planned improvements can restart.

"At Palmer Park, for example, we are aiming to have a new, fully accessible play unit installed in the main central play area by early August which I’m really excited to see in place."

READ MORE: Reading's Purple Turtle will NOT reopen on July 4 following three month lockdown

All playgrounds in Palmer Park in east Reading are set to reopen on July 4.

However, a portion of the main central playground area will be cleared for the new, exciting, fully accessible play multi-unit and as such that area will remain cordoned off so that those works can start as planned in mid-July. However, the north playground in Palmer Park will remain open for play.

The Forbury Gardens remains closed following the attack on June 20.

RBC will update residents on the plan for reopening the gardens as soon as possible.