Bath & North East Somerset Council is closing Haycombe Crematorium to visitors, except close family attending funerals, as required by law to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Haycombe will now only be accessible to those attending a funeral up to a maximum of 10 people, or by appointment for those needing to meet with office staff. The site is otherwise closed to visitors.
A new high-definition streaming system has been installed so that families and friends who are unable to attend the funeral of their loved one due to coronavirus restrictions can still view the service.
The live webcasts will allow people in self-isolation, or who cannot travel, to pay their respects.
Families will also have the option to select and programme music, images and plan services, with help from their funeral director.
For the time being, the council’s non-operational cemeteries are open but the situation may change as guidance is clarified.
Councillor Dine Romero, council leader, said: “Unfortunately we have no choice but to follow new laws which require us to close Haycombe, apart from allowing immediate family to attend funerals.
“This has not been an easy action to have to take and our sympathies are with families who will be affected by these measures.
“While viewing a loved one’s funeral service on a webcast is not what most of us would wish for, it is currently the best option that we can provide to help grieving families and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“We apologise for any distress caused by these unprecedented changes to our service but hope that people will understand why we have had to put them in place.”
All hymn books have been removed to help prevent the spread of the infection and mourners and attendees are advised not to touch, kiss or come into contact with the coffin.
The main office is operational by appointment only. Contact 01225 396020 or email [email protected]