Covid-19 update: Government clarity issued on cemeteries

CEMETERIES in Dalton and Ireleth are to be opened to the public once more following updated government guidance on new Covid-19 legislation.

The adoption into law of The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020 saw cemeteries across the country closed to the public in order to meet rules on crucial social distancing last week.

Now, further clarity provided by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management and The Ministry of Justice has confirmed only cemeteries with crematoriums on site are affected.

Therefore Dalton Cemetery in Newton Road, Dalton, and Ireleth Cemetery in Broughton Road, Ireleth, are open.

Barrow Cemetery in Devonshire Road will remain closed to all but those attending funerals or burials.

Councillor Lee Roberts, deputy leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “The decision to close cemeteries last week was incredibly difficult.

“But we simply had to comply with the legislation as it stood because we have a duty to take all available precautions to protect the health of our residents and to do all we can when it comes to saving lives and easing the pressures on our NHS.

“We welcome the clarity on the issue from The Ministry of Justice and the ICCM which states cemeteries can remain open unless they have a crematorium on site.”

Government rules on social distancing urge people to leave their homes for a limited number of reasons.

These are:

- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk or cycle - alone or with members of your household

- any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

- travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home 

It means only those who can reach cemeteries as part of their daily exercise should visit.

Cllr Roberts added: “Visiting the grave of a loved one can bring a huge amount of comfort so we know this situation, though temporary, is upsetting for many people.

“However, visiting a cemetery is not considered to be essential travel so we would urge people only to leave home for one of the reasons set out by the government to help stop the spread this devastating virus.

“We would like to thank members of the public for adhering to the government guidelines and for showing such consideration to each other during the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s essential we all continue to do this to protect our families, friends and wider community.”