SOME limitations on how many people can attend funerals in Bradford will be lifted on Monday.

But Bradford Council is asking mourners to still observe strict social distancing rules during services to avoid the spread of Covid 19.

From Monday a total of 20 mourners can attend funerals either at the crematoria or at graveside burials.

However, only 10 mourners will be allowed to enter the crematorium building, with a further 10 allowed outside. These mourners will be able to listen to the service through speakers.

The regulations are designed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid 19) and to keep mourners, funeral directors and crematorium staff safe.

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All mourners, whether at the graveside or at the crematoria, have been reminded that they must ensure social distancing at all times and remain at least two metres away from everyone else attending the service from another household.

Furniture inside the crematoria buildings has been arranged so that mourners remain distanced and cleaning between services can be carried out successfully.

Guidance from Public Health England restricts mourner numbers at funerals to members of the person’s household and close family members or, if none of these are available, to close friends.

It is hoped that the increase in the number of mourners allowed will lead to fewer bereaved families having to make the difficult choice of which family members are able to attend the funeral.

Shortly after lockdown began Bradford Council announced that strict limitations would be put on funeral services to reduce the possibility of the virus spreading.

Services at crematoria were cancelled, and limits of 10 mourners were placed on graveside burials.

Although many Council services were put on hold during lockdown, it was the funeral restrictions that proved most upsetting to many, with families claiming they were unable to give relatives the farewell they deserved.

The Council admitted that the decision would be “distressing” for grieving families, but said the need to stop the spread of the virus was a key priority.

The changes to the restrictions were announced by the Council late last month, and on the eve of the changes being implemented the Council issued a plea for mourners to keep distances from each other.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “We know it is difficult in a highly emotional situation like a funeral to keep your distance from those sharing your grief, but it is vital for everyone’s safety.

“We cannot emphasise enough that the easing of restrictions does not mean the lifting of restrictions.

“It is vitally important that people follow the guidance to keep themselves and everyone else from contracting this deadly virus. It is very sad that our loved ones can’t be given the farewell they deserve but protecting the living must remain the top priority until the emergency is over.”

The Council has said that families who were unable to hold a funeral service while the tightest restrictions were in place may want to arrange, through their funeral director, a service to be held in the future when social distancing regulations have been lifted.