Bolton Council has increased the number of mourners allowed to attend a funeral, as part of an easing of lockdown measures.
Since the coronavirus lockdown began in March, Bolton Council has restricted mourner numbers to 10 in line with other Greater Manchester councils.
Following revised guidance from government, up to 26 people will be able to attend funerals in Overdale Crematorium’s larger West Chapel, with numbers restricted to 16 mourners in the smaller East Chapel. The seating plans in the chapels have been designed to ensure that social distancing can be maintained.
Up to 30 mourners will be able to attend burials at any of Bolton's seven council-run cemeteries.
Those attending funerals are still asked to maintain social distancing when attending a service - to keep 2m apart - except from people in their own household or those with whom they have formed a support bubble.
People are still asked to limit attendance at funerals to a modest number, where possible. Those attending should be people who lived with the deceased or other close family members. Close friends may attend if this is not possible.
The council can provide a webcasting service to allow mourners to watch a funeral service from home. This can be arranged by the family appointed Funeral Director.
Anyone attending a funeral will be asked to provide their details to the funeral director so information can be shared with the NHS Test and Trace service in the event that any suspected cases of Covid-19 emerge after the funeral.
It remains vitally important that people showing symptoms of Covid-19 should not attend a funeral service. Anyone who is currently self-isolating, or is clinically extremely vulnerable, must inform the funeral director well in advance so that suitable arrangements can be made for their attendance at a funeral.
The above limits, which apply from Monday, July 20, only apply to council-run cemeteries and crematoria. Mourners should check with individual places of worship for any restrictions in place - or ask funeral directors who will be able to advise.
Cllr Adele Warren, Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services Delivery, said: "It was with great reluctance that we reduced the number of mourners able to attend a funeral in March at the start of the pandemic.
“We recognise that the restrictions that have been in place have been very difficult for the families who have lost loved ones but it was an important measure we needed to take to help prevent the spread of the virus.
"Now, as the government has issued new guidance on the gathering of groups, we have been able to review these restrictions along with other local councils in Greater Manchester. We have carried out a thorough assessment of our crematoria facilities to ensure that social distancing can be maintained while allowing more people to attend funerals.
"Being able to properly say goodbye to our loved ones is so important and being surrounded by friends and relatives is a vital part of the grieving process. We hope this small increase in numbers will bring some comfort to people who have recently been bereaved.”