60 mourners ignore attend funeral against coronavirus lockdown advice
Police were called to a funeral in Streetly when dozens of mourners defied strict guidelines on attendance due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Concerns were raised when 60 people were seen attending a service that was being held at Streetly Crematorium, off Little Hardwick Road, on Saturday afternoon.
West Midlands Police confirmed officers attended the scene and found around 60 people there who were encouraged to disperse, but failed to do so. No further action was taken.
As a result, Walsall Council has announced gates will remain locked with only controlled access granted to up to a maximum of 10 people, in line with Government guidance.
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Walsall Commander Chief Superintendent Andy Parsons said: “Unfortunately we were unable to encourage the mourners to adhere to current restrictions and the funeral continued in breach of the new Government guidelines issued last week.
“We understand that this is deeply distressing time for bereaved families and friends but there are restrictions on the number of people permitted to attend funerals to protect everyone from the spread of Covid-19.
“We will only enforce the law as an absolute last resort, but we must stress that these restrictions are in place to prevent more deaths from this pandemic.”
Councillor Garry Perry, Walsall Council's cabinet member for community, leisure and culture, said the authority will keep the crematorium locked from this week with staff at the gates admitting only 10 close relatives for each funeral.
He said: “Regrettably there are some who are not able to follow the rules set in place for no more than 10 mourners at a burial.
“Of course we recognise the distress caused at present by the restrictions in place however the guidance is clear – the definitive way to beat the virus is to reduce social contact, stay at home and save lives.”
Ward councillor Suky Samra added: “We appreciate that any loss of a family member is a sad event.
“But in these worrying, challenging times we urge all communities to please respect the Government guidelines of no more than 10 family members attend the funeral of a loved one.
“There will be a time to pay respects when this dark cloud is finally over.”