A CAP on mourners at funerals in Solihull will be lifted from 10 to 20, Solihull Council has said.
As more people can attend funerals, cemetery opening times will be lenghtened, from June 15.
The number of people allowed at cremations will increase from 10 to 14 mourners, as these services are held inside and the chapel has to be sanitised between each service.
Following the changes, Widney Manor is set to open all day, with evening weekday opening at Robin Hood and Woodlands cemeteries from June 15.
Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities Coun Alison Rolf said: “As I outlined last month, our staff are reviewing the situation at our funerals and cemeteries very carefully. We are trying very hard to balance the need for people to pay their respects to loved ones with the need to keep everyone – mourners and our staff – as safe as possible.
“At our peak we were holding two or three times as many funerals a day as we would usually. But as the number of funerals we are carrying out continues to fall we think that we can safely increase the number of mourners at services. This is because a similar amount of people will visit the chapels overall – so there is a similar level of exposure for staff – and we will also have sufficient time between services to sanitise the chapels.
“I want to explain this decision fully because I know it has been very upsetting for many residents and I want to thank you for your patience. Our overwhelming concern and reasoning for these decisions is to ensure the safety of mourners and of our staff.
“I hope we will be able to continue to increase the numbers of mourners at funerals over the coming weeks and months. To help us achieve this I would ask that people continue to observe social distancing and hand washing guidance.”
The Council will also continue to offer a free webcasting service at crematoriums during the pandemic to ensure mourners unable to attend can still pay their respects.