Those that have lost loved ones over the last year, whether related to the pandemic or not, have had to deal with the extra stress and complications that the virus and associated restrictions have caused.
It is fully recognised how difficult and distressing this time can be, and that the support and comfort of family and friends is so important. However, we are urging mourners to consider the real risk of further spread at such gatherings and limit those risks wherever possible.
Unfortunately, cases in the area are still very high and the new strain, known to be even more contagious, is still spreading locally.
To ensure the safety of those attending, officiating and working at funerals, Welsh Government has published Guidance on Funerals: COVID 19 which includes the following key points:
• The current permitted numbers for funeral attendance at places of worship, crematoriums and cemeteries must be adhered to.
Within the five local authority areas of Gwent current restrictions are in place and apply to funerals, memorial services and gatherings for all faith groups at cemeteries or crematoria.The numbers able to attend funerals or memorial services both indoors and outdoors are limited by the capacity of the venue once physical distancing measures have been taken into account.Your Funeral Director will be able to advise you of the permitted attendance numbers for the venue of your funeral or memorial service.
• Attendance must be by invitation only to ensure that the maximum numbers can be adhered to.
Attendance at a funeral as a mourner is limited to those specifically invited by the organiser of the funeral and the carer of anyone attending. Those who are officiating/working at the venue are not included in the number of attendees.
• Wear appropriate face coverings
Those attending a funeral are required to wear face coverings throughout the duration of the ceremony with the exemption of individuals with a reasonable excuse, such as:
• they are not able to put on or wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, or because of a disability or impairment; or
• they are accompanying somebody who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate.
Welsh Government guidance on face coverings
• Wakes are not currently allowed
Gatherings such as wakes are not allowed while alert level 4 restrictions are in place.
• Maintain social distancing at all times
Whenever you leave home, you should try to minimise time spent outside of the home, and ensure you stay at least two metres away from anyone you don’t live with or are in a permitted support bubble with.
• Hands, face, space
In addition to maintaining social distancing, you can limit the risk of spread by maintaining good hygiene and hand washing and wearing a face covering.
• Visiting a grave
You are permitted to visit a grave, but you should ensure you follow physical distancing when doing so and check the limitations/access times at your specific cemetery.
Local authorities are working closely with the health service, places of worship and funeral directors to ensure you have the best possible experience and support during these difficult and challenging circumstances – please ensure you are also doing everything you can to limit the further spread of this virus locally by considering and adhering to the above guidance.