'No increase' in mourner numbers at Portchester Crematorium due to Covid-19 limitations

THE easing of restrictions around life events means that weddings will be more grandiose, with more people also allowed to pay their respects at funerals.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 5:12 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th May 2021, 5:14 pm

Newlyweds in England are now able to share their big day with up to 30 friends and family as weddings take another step back to normality.

Covid restrictions remain present, however, and while social distancing between people who do not live together is not required, guests must still wear face coverings and are advised not to dance.

The Weddings Taskforce, set up with the support of the government to represent the sector, said 94 per cent of weddings – 261,883 – did not go ahead as planned last year, as well as about another 100,000 over the first half of this year.

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A funeral at Portchester Crematorium. Picture: Sarah Standing

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Taskforce spokeswoman Sarah Haywood said: ‘We expect in excess of 800,000 weddings within the first two years of a resumption of full trading, made up of those that were already due to take place and the backlog due to the pandemic restrictions.’

Meanwhile, the limit of 30 attendees at a funeral has been lifted, with the limit instead being the maximum number that the venue can support.

But Victoria Hutton, manager of Portchester Crematorium says things might not change too much at the venue.

She said: ‘While social distancing measures remain in place, Portchester Crematorium is not in a position to safely increase the maximum number of mourners permitted in the chapels.

‘It will therefore be necessary for us to keep the current maximum numbers of 20 mourners in the South Chapel and 15 mourners in the North Chapel with no increase in attendance limits.

‘We will keep the limits under review and if and when revised social distancing guidance comes from government, with confirmation of a reduction in or removal of social distancing, then we will be able to look at increasing our limits on attendance.’

The remembrance garden is still open to the public, but visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines.

For those travelling long distances for life events like weddings and funerals, hotel stays are once again a possibility.

Scott Eggleton, Travelodge district manager for Hampshire, said: ‘We are hopeful that by reopening our hotels early we can help kick start the local economy.

‘Also as we are the nation’s spare room provider, locals will be having lots of family and friends coming to visit this year and we will be hosting them.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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