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Coronavirus Kent: Changes to funeral services at crematoriums

Only close family members can now attend funeral services at most Kent crematoriums, to try and curb the spread of coronavirus.

Vinters Park Crematorium in Maidstone has come to the decision following government advice to distance ourselves from others as much as possible.

Vinters Park Crematorium is in Bearsted Road. Picture: Google street view
Vinters Park Crematorium is in Bearsted Road. Picture: Google street view

The crematorium, owned and run by Maidstone Borough Council, hopes by reducing the number of people attending funerals it will mean less people will fall ill.

To further minimise the chance of cross contamination, the curtains will be closing after the committal, so mourners will not be able to touch the coffin when they leave and all hymn books have been removed from the chapel.

The same rule regarding family members applies at Medway Crematorium, where chairs will also be two metres apart.

No more than 10 people can attend services at the crematoriums in Folkestone, Sittingbourne, Gravesend, Charing and Burham, near Canterbury.

Webcasting will still be available at all these venues, so friends and family can pay their respects to loved ones without putting themselves and others at risk.

Unless for a funeral, crematoriums and cemeteries are advised to remain shut to the public.

Bereavement services manager at Maidstone Borough Council, Sharon Smith, said: "We appreciate how difficult it is to not come to a funeral of a close friend or family member but personal safety must be paramount at this difficult time.

"We are pleased that mourners do appear to be following government guidance and are staying away from funerals.

"The numbers attending have certainly dropped."

Read more: All the latest coronavirus news

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