Sunderland Crematorium stops speakers outside funerals after groups gathered outside
Sunderland Crematorium has stopped relaying funerals to mourners outside to cut the risk of coronavirus transmission.
Under the local lockdown regulations, numbers within the crematorium are limited to 30, but services had been played to people outside.
But now council chiefs say they have seen large numbers of congregating outside the chapel and have taken the decision to stop relaying services, which are available to follow on-line.
The front doors of the chapel will be closed as the service begins and numbers inside limited to a maximum of 30, subject to family and support groups sitting in social bubbles.
The total may be less, depending on the number of family groups. All attendees must wear a face mask unless a medical condition prevents them from doing so and details will be taken for Test and Trace purposes
A member of the Crematorium Team will be on hand to greet each party but families are being urged to discuss the limitation on numbers before arriving.
Sunderland City Council Deputy Leader Coun Paul Stewart said the authority had made the announcement to avoid upsetting mourners on arrival at the crematorium.
“As we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, the City Council is in regular contact with and working closely with funeral directors,” he said.
“The national guidance on funerals in England and Wales has been that up to 30 people can attend indoor services, providing they are socially distanced and people could also observe and pay their respects outside.
“Following the announcement of new measures in our region impacting on all councils and new national restrictions to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, we have outlined and updated funeral directors on what’s now necessary at services.
“This includes how we can no longer accommodate mourners outside because of the restrictions on public gatherings and we wanted to make this clear to avoid distress on the day.
“The council continues to provide a free to access video streaming for those family and friends who are unable to attend a funeral, and people are encouraged to use this service.
“Funerals are, of course, sensitive and emotional occasions and we appreciate the patience understanding and cooperation of mourners and directors on following rules that are there to lower the risk of transmitting Covid.”