CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Cemeteries to re-open with new social distancing measures in place

Measures to protect mourners and cemetery staff have been introduced

21 April, 2020 — By Bronwen Weatherby

Islington and St Pancras Cemetery [Photo: Mark Hillary]

CAMDEN and Islington’s council-owned cemeteries are to re-open to the public following a government request to allow access.

Trent Park Cemetery has opened up again today (Tuesday) with opening hours unchanged from before a closure.

Islington and St Pancras Cemetery in East Finchley will be open again from Saturday. Hours will be restricted to between 10am to 3pm on weekdays, however, with the public allowed full access to the grounds at weekends.

Although in Barnet, the cemeteries are the last resting place for the relatives of thousands of Camden residents. People had been unable to continue their gravestone visits after a lockdown decision to shut the doors after reports that the burial grounds had become too busy with joggers and dog-walkers.

Concerns for the safety of cemetery workers amid the spread of Covid-19 had also been raised.

The council has said it may still need to restrict access to the cemeteries at certain times.


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Following government advice over the weekend asking local councils to keep cemeteries open for the bereaved, council leaders announced they would be re-opening them to the public.

Islington and St Pancras Cemetery [Photo: Mark Hillary]

Islington’s environment chief Councillor Rowena Champion, the lead member for both the Islington and Camden Cemetery Service, said: “I know how hard this has been for mourners wanting to visit the graves of their loved ones in our cemeteries at this very difficult time.

“Our top priority during this global health emergency must be to ensure that our cemeteries are safe. I’m pleased we’ve been able to introduce new measures to allow us to re-open cemeteries in a way which protects mourners and our critical staff.

“I’d like to pay tribute to our staff and volunteers for their sterling efforts during this unprecedented time – and trust that visitors will help us to maintain a safe and appropriate environment in our cemeteries.”

Hampstead Cemetery will stay open with the help of the Friends of Hampstead Cemetery. Highgate Cemetery remains closed, apart from burials.

 

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