New weekend opening times for Birmingham cemeteries and crematoria
Birmingham City Council has reviewed its opening times for visitors across all burial sites and crematoria grounds.
From Saturday 2 May 2020 new, extended weekend opening times will be operational, with weekday opening times remaining unchanged.
The current pandemic has meant that the Council has had to respond quickly to new guidance and changes around bereavement.
Cemeteries, crematoria, and surrounding grounds were closed at the beginning of the UK lockdown. However, on Saturday 18 April, the Secretary of State issued new guidance that stated there should be provisions made for people to visit graves. Birmingham City Council announced that they would open both cemeteries and crematoria grounds from Tuesday 21 April, for two hours each evening after funeral services had concluded.
This arrangement has now been reviewed following feedback from the community, and extended weekend opening times have now been agreed.
All Birmingham cemeteries and crematoria grounds will now be open for visitors from 12pm – 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, with the exception of Lodge Hill cemetery, which will open 3pm – 6:30pm on Saturdays and 12pm – 4pm on Sundays; and Sutton New Hall cemetery and Handsworth cemetery which will both be open 5:30pm – 8:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Those wishing to visit a cemetery or crematorium grounds should visit the Birmingham City Council directory for more information on opening times for each individual site. All sites are open on weekday evenings, from 4:30pm or 6:30pm depending on when services conclude.
Paul Lankester, Interim Assistant Director of Regulation and Enforcement at Birmingham City Council said: “These changes have been kept under review and we are now in a position to extend the opening hours at weekends only. The key consideration has had to be around social distancing, and therefore our cemeteries and crematoria will remain closed to visitors whilst funeral services take place.
“This also helps our staff to manage the restrictions on mourner numbers, which is limited to six people to ensure the safety of all involved, considering the other attenders (officiating person and undertaker staff) and the change in Government guidance allowing vulnerable people to attend.”
Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, added: “I hope that the extended times will provide more flexibility for people to visit their loved ones who have passed. All we ask is for people to be courteous and patient around gravesides, ensuring that two metre distance from each other is maintained – as they would in parks, shops and other public spaces.
“I also hope that those who are visiting these sites respect our staff, including our security officers. Abuse towards our staff at these sites is completely unacceptable and will be treated seriously.”