In response to the announcement made at the NI Executive press conference earlier today relating to Cemeteries and burial grounds, Derry City and Strabane District Council has confirmed its cemeteries will reopen to the public from tomorrow afternoon, Saturday 25 April.
All Council Cemeteries will, from tomorrow, be open to the public daily from 2.30pm to 9pm. They will not be accessible in the mornings to allow for funerals and to facilitate necessary maintenance works.
The Council has put in place these temporary measures to ensure cemeteries are open in compliance with Government regulations to facilitate funerals and social distancing measures to protect the public and staff.
Specifically with regard to the City Cemetery, a number of additional temporary measures have been put into place including a one-way system to ensure that those visiting are able to socially distance and, if needed, some restriction to the maximum number of people who are in the cemetery at any one time.
Visitors to the Cemeteries are asked to ensure that they adhere to social distancing guidelines and to respect the needs of everyone who wants to visit as Council will be unable to facilitate high numbers of visitors at the same time.
Social distancing and operational changes will also be in place at other cemeteries across the Council area including Ballyoan, Altnagelvin, Strabane, Mountcastle and Castlederg.
Signage will be erected across all sites reminding people of the temporary changes that are in place to protect them and guidance and assistance will also be available where necessary. The Council will review all these measures on a regular basis.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Michaela Boyle, commending Cemetery staff for their continued work and dedication during these difficult circumstances urged the public to respect the guidelines around social distancing and to be aware of other other visitors who will also want to visit their loved ones.
She encouraged the public to plan their visit to cemeteries within the allocated opening hours and where possible, to be mindful of the length of time they spend during each visit.
She said: “The reopening of the cemeteries will be welcome news to people across the city and district. Many have struggled with not being able to visit the graves of their loved ones for the past number of weeks. It is very important that anyone planning on visiting the cemeteries this weekend assist our staff to ensure that the cemetery operates in a safe and controlled manner.
“It is important that we all continue to adhere to social distancing and that we follow the temporary operational changes that Council have had to put in place. At this time, members of the public will not be able to access our cemeteries during the earlier part of the day in order to enable us to facilitate funerals and to undertake essential maintenance and grave preparatory works, I would ask people to respect this at all times.
“I sincerely hope that the reopening of cemeteries and burial grounds will provide some comfort for people at this difficult time. We should continue to follow the advice of Government and health officials to stay at home when possible. By doing this we are protecting lives and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Let us continue to work together over the coming days and weeks and continue to protect the people that we love.”
Members of the public with any enquiries are advised to contact the Cemetery office via telephone at 028 71 362615.
The public are advised that should contact be required social distancing requirements must be maintained at all times.
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