The government is asking councils to keep open -or reopen – cemeteries and graveyards, communities secretary Robert Jenrick said at a briefing today “April 18).
Speaking this afternoon he said: “I’m asking councils to keep open or indeed reopen cemeteries and graveyards. Not for people to congregate in. That must not happen. But for people to make that private visit. To seek solace in a word at the grave of someone you have loved. Or to privately lay flowers. There have been times in my life when I have needed to do that. I’m certain there are people who need to do it today.
“These are small steps. But small mercies can make a big difference. And local councils, at their best, can help to make life, even in times like this, more liveable and more humane.”
He also made it clear funerals can go ahead with close family present as long as social distancing is followed.
St John’s Cemetery, Margate, has been temporarily closed to visitors and people have been told they should only visit Margate Crematorium if they are attending a service. The gates are closed following the last service each day and remain closed at the weekends. Ramsgate cemetery remains open.
Thanet council has been asked for details over whether current restrictions will be eased.
Mr Jenrick also announced a further £1.6 billion of new funding to support councils with the pressures they face as they respond to COVID-19.