The 30-person limit on the number of mourners who can attend funerals is set to end in England on May 17th, but some venues are still imposing this restriction beyond the next step of the “roadmap” out of lockdown, along with time restrictions on services. The Guardian has the story.
A grieving mother said she had “nowhere left to turn” after dozens of possible venues for a funeral service near London refused to let her invite more than 30 mourners, despite England’s coronavirus restrictions being about to change.
Stacey O’Donnell, whose 19 year-old son, Tai O’Donnell, was stabbed to death in his home in Croydon on March 3rd, said she was “shattered” by her attempts to find a venue for the service.
She had delayed the funeral until after May 17th, when the Government’s limit on mourners is to be lifted allowing any number of people to gather as long as venues can comply with social distancing. She wanted to invite 50-60 guests whose lives “had been touched by Tai”.
But dozens of sites in Croydon and the surrounding area in south London, including those with large indoor and outdoor areas that would make social distancing possible, were restricting mourners to a maximum of 30, with many also limiting the service to 30 minutes, O’Donnell said.
She said: “I have a young boy who was very much loved by a lot of people, and it just seems completely wrong that we can’t come together to remember him and give thanks for the moments we shared. I would understand if it was prior to restrictions being dropped… but vaccinations have gone out, the people who are most at risk are covered. So for people to choose to enforce these restrictions just feels wrong.”
O’Donnell had found a private venue in Surrey but it could accommodate only 30 mourners, and religious venues had also said numbers had to be limited and insisted on religious ceremonies. Many hotels, golf courses and other venues were shut until June 21st, she added.
She felt the search for a venue had taken a toll on her mental health. “It’s killing me, to be honest. It has taken so long to get him back, and now to have so many doors close in my face is just awful. I don’t feel like I’m asking for a great deal, just a space to be able to say goodbye to my baby.”
Deborah Smith, from the National Association of Funeral Directors, said the Association had received other reports that some councils were reluctant to allow more than 30 guests at funerals. “We urge funeral venues or councils that are taking this approach to think again,” she said.
Worth reading in full.