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Black Country councils ease restrictions on funerals

By Jamie Brassington | Coronavirus | Published:

The number of mourners allowed at funerals in the Black Country has increased as part of an easing of lockdown measures.

All four Black Country councils have now lifted previous restrictions of 10 mourners after a review by council bosses.

In Dudley, burials at cemeteries has been extended to a maximum of 30 mourners, so long as they stick to social-distancing.

At Gornal Wood Crematorium, 16 mourners can now attend inside the chapel while another 15 can be outside where they can listen to services on speakers.

At Stourbridge Crematorium, the limit inside the chapel remains at 10 mounters due to its small capacity. However 15 mourners can now gather outside.

Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley said: "Due to the coronavirus crisis we are having to carefully monitor and manage the number of people who can attend our services, following government guidelines to keep everyone as safe as possible.

"We are pleased to be able to offer space for additional mourners at some of our services but we know this is still a very difficult time for those who have lost loved ones and our hearts go out to all who are affected by the ongoing restrictions."

In Walsall, more changes have been brought in.

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A maximum of 30 mourners can now attend burials, while 15 mourners can stand outside chapels. At Streetly Crematorium, a maximum of 15 mourners can attend inside the West chapel. The limit in the East chapel is 10.

The council says mourners must keep two-metres apart.

In Wolverhampton, the restrictions have been lifted only slightly. A maximum of 12 mourners can now attend funerals.

A Wolverhampton Council spokesman said: "The number of mourners - 12 - is based on social distancing, the size of the chapels and the seating in the chapels. Our chapels are small. And we must work in line with the government guidance of two-metres-apart to keep everyone safe."

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In Sandwell, the number of mourners has now been extended to 20 people at Sandwell Valley Crematorium. At Rowley Regis Crematorium, the limit has been extended to 16.

A Sandwell Council spokesman said: "We have recently reviewed how best we can meet the challenges we continue to face to provide funeral services and ensure the needs of bereaved families are also met."

In Staffordshire, there has been no change among the boroughs and districts.

At Stafford Borough Council, and South Staffordshire District Council, there is no limit on the number of mourners who can attend. However funerals are only open to immediate family members.

At Cannock Chase District Council the limit remains at 10 mourners.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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