Coronavirus: changes to North Hertfordshire district cemeteries

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we have made changes to our normal procedures for interments.

Are the cemeteries currently open to visitors?
At present all the North Herts District cemeteries are open to visitors, however, we do not encourage non-essential travel to visit the cemeteries. A visit can be incorporated as part of your daily exercise routine. 

Once within the cemetery grounds, please adhere to the strict guidelines of 2 metre social-distancing and only visit graves of your own relatives.

Are there still facilities for watering of plants?
Water sources are still turned on, however we have removed the watering cans and carriers. Please provide your own water carrier when visiting the cemetery.

Can we hold a graveside service?
Graveside services are still permitted although attendance at funerals is to be limited to no more than 10 mourners and it would be preferable if this number also included the Funeral Directors and minister/celebrant attending. Where this is not possible, a maximum number of 10 family members will be permitted to attend. Regrettably additional mourners are not permitted to wait in their cars during the graveside service.

Please maintain a distance of 2 metres between yourself and other mourners at all times unless you are from the same household. Mourners should also follow Government guidance on social distancing when travelling to and from the funeral gathering.

When at the funeral ceremony all mourners must avoid any direct face-to-face or physical contact, for example, shaking hands or hugging each other unless they are part of the same household.

Who can attend a funeral?
No more than 10 members of close family are permitted to attend the funeral. Close family constitutes husband/wife, mother/father, brother/sister and children only.

Please do not attend a burial if you or anyone in your household has suspected or confirmed COVID-19 symptoms. If you are self-isolating because someone in your house has the virus or you are deemed to be a vulnerable person please stay home.

How can we access the cemetery to attend a funeral?
All the cemetery grounds within the North Herts District are still open to the public and accessible for burials. Cemetery staff will meet the funeral cortege at the appropriate cemetery to greet the Funeral Director and party.

Social distancing of 2 metres must be strictly adhered to once within the cemetery gates and Funeral Directors are respectfully requested to ensure the permitted numbers in attendance do not exceed 10 members of close family. 

When attending burials if you need to talk to our cemetery or grounds maintenance staff, please keep a 2 metre distance for the safety of our staff and your family members.

Can the normal religious practices still take place?
The Funeral Director will direct you as to what practices can still be observed whilst in their care. If there is a Muslim burial, the Mosque concerned will be able to advise on what practices they are still offering with regards to preparing the body for interment.

Traditionally some families like to back-fill the grave of their loved ones or sprinkle soil on the coffin, however, during this pandemic we are no longer offering these services. The back-filling will be carried out by our grounds team after the funeral party has left the cemetery. 

Will the cemetery chapels be available for hire?
At present we have had to take the decision to suspend hire of our Cemetery chapels until further notice. The chapels will not be open for use of the toilet or hand-washing facilities during the funeral service, therefore, please ensure you bring your own supply of hand sanitiser or antibacterial wipes and take any rubbish home with you when you leave.