The cemetery grounds at Woodvale Crematorium in Brighton are to close – except for funerals – from tomorrow (Wednesday 8 April).
One of the leading members of the Labour administration in Brighton and Hove, Councillor Daniel Yates, said: “I’m saddened to say we have taken the difficult decision to close the cemetery grounds at Woodvale Crematorium from tomorrow.
“This is not a decision taken lightly and has been made following new government guidance for managing crematoria.
“The guidance states crematoria must close to the public, except for funerals.
“This requirement also includes a cemetery if the crematorium is situated in the cemetery, which is the case at Woodvale.
“Of course, those attending funerals will still be allowed to do so, but a limit of 12 mourners at the chapels remains in place.
“This is to ensure guidance on social distancing can be followed.
“We understand that this will be upsetting to those who wish to visit the graves of family and friends but it’s important that we follow regulations on health protection at this difficult time.”
Councillor Yates added: “While other cemetery grounds in the city will remain open, I would again urge people to only visit these for funerals or to visit graves and memorials.
“Unfortunately, despite requests not to do so, a minority have continued to use the grounds for exercise, dog walking and family outings.
“Cemeteries are a place for mourning and remembrance and people should be allowed to do this in peace.
“The increased numbers of people using the cemetery grounds means social distancing has become more difficult, putting the public and cemetery staff at risk of contracting coronavirus (covid-19).
“I know that this decision will upset those who wish to visit the graves of loved ones at Woodvale, particularly during this challenging time for us all, but protecting public health must be our number one priority.”
Brighton and Hove City has published more details on its website.