Mourners, clergy and celebrants will not be allowed to attend the funeral of York Crematorium from tomorrow due to the coronavirus crisis.
Funeral services which have already been reserved at the Bishopthorpe crematorium will become “direct cremations”, without mourning or service.
York City Council said it had to make a “very difficult and sad” decision to end all funeral services at the crematorium with immediate effect starting tomorrow, although the cremations will continue as planned.
A spokesperson said a number of precautions have already been taken to reduce the risk to the public and staff.
“However, in light of new, stricter and clearer government guidelines regarding social distance at funerals, we had to make today’s tough decision,” she said.
“The council takes into account the risks of infection spreading outside hospitals and must therefore ensure that the health and well-being of all are protected, including the public, crematorium staff and partners, such as than funeral directors. “
Sharon Stolz, director of public health, said it had been one of the most difficult decisions the board had to make.
“In an age where family and friends are the most important part of our lives, we know it is going to be really difficult for many people who have lost their loved ones,” she said.
“We live in an unprecedented time and as such, we must ensure that we do everything we can to reduce the risk of the spread of the coronavirus and, unfortunately, this includes participation in funeral services.
“With the increase in the number of infections and deaths, and before the expected peak infection period, we must put these new measures in place now to protect our most vulnerable.
“This is why we consulted extensively with the funeral directors in York and collectively determined that it was sadly in everyone’s best interest if we ceased all funeral services. “
She said the council was exploring all other possibilities, such as organizing memorial services at a later date when government restrictions have been lifted.
“We will provide a short video in the chapel for free for the services that have been reserved, and we are also seeking the support of other faith-based agencies across the city,” she said.
“We are aware that many families have already made plans and we wanted to make sure that they have to make balanced alternative arrangements by taking swift action to save lives.
“We continue to follow all guidelines for coronaviruses very closely, to ensure the protection of everyone’s health and well-being.
“We have updated the funeral directors regarding these latest changes and will continue to keep the public fully informed of any other service changes.”
The daughter of a York retiree whose funeral was to be held next week said she was “devastated” that she could no longer attend.
Joy Carter said she was at the bedside of her father, Robert Henry Darbyshire, 92, of Osbaldwick, when he died of Alzheimer’s disease.
“I gave up paid work to take care of him before he needed nursing care,” she said.
“Her death was sometimes painful and for me not to say goodbye to peace, comfort and comfort is just devastating. “
She said people could go to supermarkets and non-essential construction workers who couldn’t meet the 2 meter distance rules could still work, but she couldn’t attend her father’s funeral even if it was just her and the celebrant.
Funeral director Chris Fielder of JG Fielder & Son said: “It is disappointing that this decision had to be made, even though we knew it was a possibility for some time and understand why the decision was made .
“We are in the process of contacting families affected by the change and discussing the options available to them, including the use of our service chapel for five mourners, or the holding of a small service with the hearse and minister or celebrant outside the family. House.
“We encourage families to consider hosting memorial services at a later date, and our services are offered to help with this.”
* Are you directly affected by the decision to suspend funeral services at York Crematorium? If yes, do you support or oppose the decision? Send an email to [email protected]