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It is with deep sadness that we have learned of the death of His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Update from council leader - 7 April

Time Square, Bracknell

Cllr Paul Bettison, OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:

I hope that residents enjoyed the Easter weekend and were able to celebrate with family and friends in keeping with national restrictions. I would also like to wish a Ramadan Mubarak for those who celebrate Ramadan, which will this year begin on Monday, 12 April!

It’s great that since Monday, 29 March we have been able to have outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either six people or two households and that outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts are now open. I’m sure many residents have welcomed seeing their friends and family again (and not via Zoom!) or taking part in their favourite outdoor sport. We must, however, make sure that we continue to follow all the health and hygiene rules to keep our loved ones safe. Visit GOV.UK more information on recent and upcoming changes to COVID-19 restrictions.

Last Tuesday we saw a new rapid testing site open in Bracknell town centre to enable people who work in, or visit the town centre for a permitted reason, to have regular asymptomatic lateral flow testing. This new site is located at One Lexicon, in High View House, and will offer asymptomatic testing from 8am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. More information on this testing site can be found on our website.

Around one in three people with COVID-19 have no symptoms, which is why asymptomatic testing is so important. By having regular asymptomatic testing, we can identify asymptomatic cases so that those people can self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.

Residents can attend the centre during opening hours or book an appointment on the rapid testing page or by phoning 01344 352000. If you have a pre-booked appointment, you will receive priority.  If you arrive without a pre-booked appointment, you may be asked to wait at a safe distance until there is availability.

From next week a number of residents in the borough will have the opportunity to share their experiences about how the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact their lives. Around 1,800 residents will be contacted by phone to take part in the survey, so if you are contacted, please do get involved.

We would really appreciate your full and honest responses to help us identify where we need to address any negative impacts caused by COVID-19 and identify any positive impacts to build on.

If you’d like to catch up on council news and updates outside of this column, we send out a weekly electronic version called Town & Country Extra. You can sign up for Town & Country Extra for free on our website, and will receive weekly email updates.

Have a good week, and stay safe.