Council makes radical changes to burial procedures

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

MID and East Antrim Council have introduced radical new changes to its burial procedures as a result of COVID-19.

They said:

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Council are putting plans in place to ensure that burial services can be maintained over the coming weeks.

A service continuity plan is now in place and additional staff have been trained to take receipt of burial notifications and to ensure continuity of burials at cemeteries.

The safety of everyone within Mid and East Antrim Borough Council cemeteries is critical - Council staff, undertakers, mourners and members of the public and to that end I would wish to draw your attention to the following new working arrangements.

CEMETERY SITES

To reduce potential spread of the virus the following new rules will apply:-

• Council staff will prepare graves for burials and then fill in the graves post service;

• The numbers of mourners attending the grave at the time of burial should be kept to a minimum and no more than 10 immediate family members;

• All those attending the burial must adhere to social distancing rules and no one should attend any cemetery if they are displaying symptoms;

• All those attending the burial will be asked to stay 5 meters away from the grave;

• The Funeral Director should bring the coffin to the grave in a trolley, or where this is not possible it should be carried at waist height;

• The Funeral Director, in conjunction with family, should manage the service to include the lowering of coffin into the grave;

• The Funeral Director or family members should transfer floral tributes from vehicles to graveside;

• If there are not enough, or no family members present to assist with the lowering of the coffin, then following committal, the Funeral Director and family should move away from the site and the coffin will be lowered by Council staff. At all times a distance of 5 meters must be man ntained to ensure the safety of Council staff.

Council would also request that all services be conducted within a 15 minute timeframe.

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