Following Government advice on social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Halton Borough Council will be restricting the numbers of mourners attending funeral services at the borough’s cemeteries and Widnes Crematorium from tomorrow (Tuesday).

 As funerals are major gatherings where people are very close to each other, in the current circumstances this poses a serious risk to health of everyone in attendance.

 Therefore, following discussions with Public Health, funeral directors and neighbouring councils, from Tuesday 24 March only 12 people will be allowed to attend funeral services within Widnes Crematorium chapel. For burial services at all cemeteries in Halton, only six mourners will be permitted at the graveside.

 There is currently no restriction in relation to entering Halton’s cemeteries but the Council is stressing the need for people to maintain distance between one another.

 From Tuesday 24 March webcasting of funerals (which is available at Widnes Crematorium) will be offered for free. This will allow people to be part of a funeral service but from their own homes.

 Cllr Stef Nelson, the Council’s portfolio holder for Environmental Services, says: “This is a very hard decision to have to make, but the safety of the public, our staff and funeral directors is paramount.

 “We understand that this will be upsetting to families at what is already a very distressing time, but it is essential that we protect people in these unprecedented circumstances.”