Town’s cemetery reopens after lockdown closure
PUBLISHED: 14:25 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:16 22 April 2020
Archant Norfolk 2014
A town council has reopened its cemetery after a government minister said cemeteries “must remain open” so families could mourn their loved ones.
Cromer Town Council is reopening its graveyard at Holt Road after Robert Jenrick, the communities and local government secretary, spoke out on the issue at Saturday’s Downing Street coronavirus briefing.
The council had closed the cemetery due to the lockdown, but has now said: “Following the receipt of an update from the Government and guidance from the ICCM [Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management], it has been agreed to reopen Cromer Cemetery to visitors.
“The town council reserves the right to restrict access to the cemetery should there be any indication of increased risk or should further guidance be issued.”
At the briefing Mr Jenrick spoke about the death of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, who died after contracting Covid-19.
His family could not attend his funeral, which was closed because of the lockdown.
Mr Jenrick said: “That is not right and it shouldn’t have happened. For clarity, funerals can go ahead with close family present. Social distancing measures must be respected, but families must have the opportunity to say a respectful goodbye to those that they love.
“I’m also asking councils to keep open or indeed to reopen cemeteries and graveyards....for people to make that private visit and seek solace at the grave of someone you’ve loved or to privately lay flowers.
“There have been times in my life when I have needed to do that. These are small steps, but small mercies can make a difference.”
The town council released a list of guidelines for visitors to the cemetery:
■ The cemetery must not be used to congregate with other people
■ Bring your own watering cans or containers, as the ones that were there have been removed
■ Take all wrappers and old flowers home for disposal as the bins have been removed
■ Use hand sanitiser/wipes after using the taps and tending graves
■ The toilet will remain closed as council staff cannot regularly sanitise the facilities.
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