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Tuesday 26th May 2020

Coronavirus: Council slammed for implementing ban on funerals

Branded 'deeply damaging' and a 'step too far'

A council is facing demands to reverse its strict ban on mourners attending cremation funerals during the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of York Council has been slammed for the policy, which one MP branded "completely insensitive and deeply damaging".

Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, called the decision a "step too far" as she demanded the authority let grieving relatives attend their loved ones' cremations.

MP Rachael Maskell slammed the policy (Credit: Labour Party / YouTube)

Read more: Coronavirus: Scammers posing as grieving family members set up fake fundraisers for COVID-19 victims

The council is reported to have told people that, as of Thursday (April 9), the city will no longer permit funerals - only 'direct cremations'.

No exceptions in ban on funerals

It explains on its website that were will be 'no exceptions' to the rule.

MP Rachael Maskell commented: "This is a very difficult time for everyone. But when crowds are still in our supermarkets and working in warehouses across the city, to stop close family members being able to say goodbye to a child, a parent or partner is completely insensitive and deeply damaging.

Rachael appeared on Good Morning Britain in 2017 (Credit: ITV)

"Funerals provide an important role in the grieving process, and to be denied such an opportunity will cause lasting pain for families."

Speaking further, she said: "At this time some people are unable to be with close family members as they die. And then not being able to be with them at their funeral is a step too far."

Funerals provide an important role in the grieving process.

The MP went on to explain that her constituents had shared their "heartache" over the policy.

Other councils have 'safe distancing measures'

Rachael pointed to other councils, such as authorities in North Yorkshire. Others have implemented "safe funeral distancing measures" rather than banning them outright.

It follows reports that the family of a young COVID-19 victim were not able to attend his funeral.

Will other councils implement similar measures? (Credit: Pixabay)

Read more: Coronavirus: Coronation Street actor Simon Gregson says deadly bug gave him 'gastric' symptoms

Relatives of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who passed away at hospital after contracting the deadly bug, were unable to see him laid to rest in Brixton last week (Friday, April 3).

Mark Stephenson, a friend who set up a GoFundMe page for the family, explained that Ismail's older sister and younger brother had mild symptoms - and therefore had to remain in isolation.

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