LEEDS City Council is placing further restrictions on its funeral services to help tackle Coronavirus.

From Thursday, March 26, the numbers allowed at an already arranged chapel funeral service, and at burials and graveside services will be restricted to up to ten mourners per chapel, and up to 20 mourners at burial and graveside services. People will have to respect the two metre social distance rule and the funeral director or family must also bring their own spades to backfill graves.

A spokesman said: “Following guidance issued last week, the council will no longer be taking any new bookings for chapel funeral services. Any further bookings will be undertaken as ‘Direct Cremation Services’ only. A ‘Direct Cremation’ is a funeral which is not attended by mourners and has no service. In relation to burials, and the provision of ‘graveside services’, these burials can be booked and continue to go ahead as normal with the restrictions outlined above in terms of number of mourners and backfilling of graves.

“The elderly and anyone with underlying health conditions and pregnant women are particularly encouraged to pay attention to current government guidance and to consider not attending a chapel service or burial or graveside service.”

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and active lifestyles, said: “We are continuing to monitor all of the guidance regarding Coronavirus very closely, and in what is very unprecedented times, we are having to make extremely difficult decisions in terms of the services we provide to ensure that the health and well-being of the public, council staff and partners and stakeholders we work closely with, is protected.

“With that in mind we will be introducing a number of further changes to the cemeteries and crematoria services provided by the council from March 26 in terms of numbers that can attend a pre-booked chapel funeral service or burial or graveside service, and information around backfilling of graves.”

“We have updated funeral directors regarding these latest alterations and will continue to keep the public fully informed of any further service changes.”