Jason Brock, leader of Reading Borough Council (RBC) has responded to the news that the town will be in tier 2 of the three-tier Covid restrictions from Wednesday, December 2.

He said the news “comes as no surprise” and thanked “each and every resident and business for their huge efforts to date”.

Reading was in tier 1 before the lockdown came in on November 5.

READ MORE: Reading placed in Covid tier 2: what you can and cannot do

Reacting to today’s news, Cllr Brock said:

“In the context of tier levels announced across large swathes of the country today, the news that Reading has been placed into Tier 2 by Government has come as no surprise.

“We fully appreciate that the decision will cause further challenges for residents at a time of year when they would ordinarily be mixing with friends, work colleagues and family, and for local businesses who will of course face more hardship where they cannot open in their usual way at what is a vital time of year for them.

“Reading’s economy remains resilient, and I am pleased that what are deemed to be ‘non-essential’ shops will be able to open, but for those businesses who cannot operate the impact will certainly be felt.

“It has been a hugely challenging year for everyone and the reality is that it looks likely to continue until the Spring.

“While it is certainly true that positive cases have been rising in Reading, it is also important to put that in context.

“Cases rose sharply in October from around the 30 per 100,000 population mark to around 140 per 100,000, but thanks to the tremendous efforts of individuals and businesses in the town, they have plateaued in November and remain fairly stable at his time, and we have seen nothing like the same sharp rise.

“That doesn’t mean we can relax though, and it remains important for everyone to stick to the new rules so that we see a decline in the case numbers and can, in time, move to a lower tier of restriction.

“The messages of good hand hygiene, wearing a mask when in enclosed spaces and social distancing, remain just as important today as they did at the start of the pandemic.

“I would like to remind people that whilst we are in this High alert tier, you must not mix with other households indoors as we know the risk of passing the virus on to others is highest when inside.

“Meeting up in groups of up to six outdoors is permitted, but please still practice social distancing when doing this with those you do not live with.

“In terms of council services, the Government’s new guidelines mean that I am obviously pleased that gyms and swimming pools will be able to open in Reading, which is important and provides people with huge physical and mental health benefits.

“The same applies to the return of outside organised sport for adults and children.

“Our high risk settings team will continue to be out and about helping local businesses with advice and guidance and, I’m sure, will continue to do a fantastic job.

“It is important to remind people that the new guidelines announced today do not come into effect until December 2. Until then the same lockdown rules apply as was previously the case.

“On behalf of the council I’d like to thank each and every resident and business for their huge efforts to date.  I am certain they will respond in the same way in the weeks and months to come.”