Colchester Borough Council has reopened its cemetery today (22 April) following a change to the coronavirus emergency legislation by Government.
The Council closed Colchester Cemetery to the public, except for funerals, earlier this month following the Government’s new coronavirus health protection regulations. These were put in place to help tackle the spread of Covid-19 and specified that all cemetery grounds, with a crematorium on site, were required to close and only open for funerals.
The Government has now updated the legislation and as of 1:00pm this afternoon the Council were able to open the gates to the Cemetery.
Councillor Andrea Luxford-Vaughan, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Customers, said: “The decision to close Colchester Cemetery was taken out of my hands as we had to comply with the Government’s new coronavirus laws. It was not something I ever expected or wanted to do, and I realise it has been upsetting, especially for bereaved families who would like to visit and pay their respects.
“At the time the Government legislation was enacted, we said we would do all we could to reopen as quickly as possible and that's what we have done.
“To ensure your safety and that of our staff, we ask you to follow social distancing guidelines and stay two metres apart.”
As part of the moves to tackle the spread of Covid-19 only close family, up to a maximum of 10 people, can attend a funeral if they observe the Government’s guidelines by social distancing to two-metres apart in the chapel or at the graveside.
For more information about the impact of Covid-19 on the councils services, and the help and support available for residents and businesses visit www.colchester.gov.uk/coronavirus