The decision taken today by the Northern Ireland Executive to reopen cemeteries to the public has been welcomed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Councillor, Andrew Clarke.
Cllr Clarke described the announcement as ‘sensible and appropriate’ following widespread political and public calls for grieving families to be permitted to visit their loved ones’ graves in a controlled manner according to public health guidelines.
Earlier this week, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council pledged its cemeteries would reopen with immediate effect once the Northern Ireland Executive legislation allowed.
Cllr Clarke said: “This is entirely the right decision and I thank the Executive for listening to the voices of families who were experiencing genuine emotional distress because they were unable to visit the graves of their loved ones.
“I had called for this to be done in a controlled way and I am very glad to see that this most human of desires, for people to tend their loved ones’ final resting place, is now possible.
“This announcement by the Executive today is a sensible and appropriate one, and I am confident that those visiting will adhere to the strict social distancing measures in place.”
The announcement by the Executive was also welcomed by Council’s Group Party Leaders.
As of 10am tomorrow, Saturday 25 April, cemeteries in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area will be open to the public from 10am to 4pm every day.
Public health guidelines and advice will be signposted at all cemeteries, with staff present at our main graveyards.
Council staff will control access during any burials to ensure the utmost respect and dignity for grieving families.
Visitors should follow the strict guidelines on protecting public health by adhering to social distancing and staying at least two metres away from another person while attending a cemetery, unless with members of their own household.
No one should visit a cemetery if they or a member of their household is experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus.