Funeral restrictions to be eased in Kirklees from next month

Mourners will be able to attend funerals inside crematorium chapels in Kirklees from June 1.

The council announced the easing of some restrictions yesterday (May 14).

However whilst numbers will still be limited to just 10 mourners social distancing will be in place to allow services to take place indoors at crematoria in Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

Booking times will increase from 20 minutes to 30 minutes to enable a clean break between services, and chapels will be laid out so that those attending can stay safely apart.

Hand sanitisers are being installed for use before and after entering the chapel and people will be encouraged to keep 2m apart as they move through the space.

In the meantime mourners can stand outside the chapel whilst a minister or celebrant performs a short service before the coffin is carried into the chapel.

Strict restrictions have been in place at funeral services throughout the lockdown to protect mourners, staff and funeral directors as much as possible from the coronavirus.

The council moved to reduce the cremation service to its minimum requirements in early April following Government advice over the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Cllr Rob Walker, the council's Cabinet Member for Environment said the decision to offer direct funerals and restrict the number of mourners was "made with the best evidence available at the time".

Cllr Rob Walker

"I know that the sacrifice made by families who've lost a loved one during the last few weeks has been particularly heart-breaking, and not being able to hold a normal service can only have made a difficult time even harder. "We are still a long way from normal, but I do hope that opening the chapels to 10 people will at least provide some additional comfort to immediate family members and close friends at their time of need. "We will continue to review the position."

Cllr Rob Walker, Cabinet Member for Environment

Those unable to attend a funeral service will still be able to watch for free through the council's webcasting service.

The council has also pledged to continue to offer its cremation services at the direct cremation rate, to reflect the reduced number of people who can attend a service.

Graveside burial services can still be booked and will continue to go ahead with a reduced maximum of 10 mourners.

The council said social distancing should be observed to allow bereavement service staff and gravediggers to carry out their duties safely.