NO further bookings are being taken for funeral services at Oakworth Crematorium and Bradford Council's two other crematoria due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Services that are already planned can go ahead, but – from tomorrow (April 2) – a maximum of just ten mourners will be allowed.

So-called direct cremations, where there is no service and no mourners, will still be undertaken.

Cremation charges will be reduced during the period.

Graveside burial services will continue to go ahead, but also with a maximum of ten mourners from tomorrow.

The council says social distancing should be observed to allow bereavement service staff and grave diggers to carry out their duties in safety.

So that people affected by the changes can pay their respects to loved ones, Bradford Council will work with funeral directors to seek alternative options – such as holding a celebration of life or similar service later in the year when facilities become available again.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for healthy people and places, said: “These are unprecedented times. I never thought that we would have to make the sad decisions which we are having to make in terms of the services we provide. Our first consideration is that we have to protect people from this virus to ensure that the health and wellbeing of those that we work with, the public, council staff, partners and stakeholders is protected.

“The death of a loved one is a tragedy for all those left behind and we don’t want to increase that distress, however we also have a duty to all those attending and staff. Please be assured we are continuing to monitor how we deliver our services, and will make changes as appropriate. We will also continue to be in close dialogue with funeral directors to also keep them informed throughout this time."