West Norfolk residents urged to keep funerals safe for mourners and staff
To help reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19) residents in west Norfolk are being reminded of the updated guidance to ensure funerals are conducted safely and are consistent with social distancing rules.
Government guidance explains that, with certain precautions, funerals should continue to take place. To help reduce the risk of the highly infectious disease funeral directors and faith leaders are advised to restrict the number of mourners who attend.
The main rules are: The limit on number of people attending funerals is currently 30 - this includes funerals in a cemetery; Keep a safe distance of at least two metres (three steps) should be maintained between individuals; Any individual displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend; Those who do attend will need to adhere to social distancing at all times, including travelling to and from the funeral.
The use of face-coverings within the chapel is now a mandatory requirement except for those that are exempt due to health conditions.
Track and Trace procedures are also in place at Mintlyn, where visitors will be required to either scan the NHS Test and Trace QR code, or manually complete a contact form located in the chapel pews.
Chris Black, cemeteries and crematorium manager for the borough council, said: “Losing a loved one at any time is a sad and distressing experience and, under normal circumstances, funerals are the perfect way to come together with friends and family to celebrate a person’s life.
"Unfortunately, due to Coronavirus, we must stick to the new guidelines of limiting the number of mourners and sticking to social distancing guidelines.
“These are in place to protect vulnerable people as well as our staff who continue to deliver a vital role during the pandemic.
“We have been disturbed to see some notices online or in the press suggesting that more people can gather at the site, even though they can't go in to crematorium.
"This is not the case, the limit on the number of people attending is 30, whether at the crematorium or cemetery.
"Notices stating all are welcome are simply misleading and require additional resource to deal with. It can be very distressing for those that have turned up if they have to be sent away, because the limit of 30 has been exceeded.
"There is currently no fee for live streaming of funeral services at Mintlyn Crematorium.
"This gives friends and family of the deceased the chance to watch the service in the safety of their homes, without putting themselves or anyone else at risk.”
Councillor Paul Kunes, West Norfolk cabinet member for commercial services, said: "The team at Mintlyn Crematorium have worked tirelessly to ensure they can meet the demand for services at the same time as maintaining appropriate cleaning regimes and ensuring that both mourners and staff are safe.
"In these difficult and challenging times, we need people to follow the rules and ask that Funeral Directors do what they can to support our staff by sharing this message."
Full guidance is available from the Government website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased