United Kingdom

Traveller family ignore social-distancing rules as 40 mourners attend funeral of Alfred Loveridge

A 40-strong family of travellers seemingly ignored the government's social distancing guidelines as they turned up to say their final good-byes at the funeral of a 'well-respected' member of the community.

Travelling community elder Alfred Loveridge, 82, was buried at a cemetery in Upwell, Norfolk, yesterday, with dozens of mourners present.

Travelling community elder Alfred Loveridge, 82, was buried at a cemetery in Upwell, Norfolk, yesterday, with dozens of mourners present

Government chiefs have previously spoken to religious leaders and funeral directors, asking them to restrict the number of mourners who attend funerals

It comes after government put the country into lockdown earlier this month and imposed social distancing guidelines, which say people should stand more than 2ft apart.

Government chiefs have also previously spoken to religious leaders and funeral directors, asking them to restrict the number of mourners who attend funerals, so a 'safe distance of at least three steps can be maintained between individuals'.

The government also advises that only members of the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend funerals.

Despite the advice, a group gathered in a 20ft by 8ft marquee beside the grave for Mr Loveridge, who did not die from coronavirus. 

But family members had previously said in a Facebook post that they were not going into the church and that the vicar would read prayers outside. 

One local told The Sun that the family had gone to 'great efforts' to comply with the guidance, which he described as 'vague'.

The unnamed local said: 'Alfie was a very well-respected man around here and I think a lot more people wanted to attend his funeral, but stayed away because of the restrictions.'

He added: 'Traveller funerals are often huge, and this was very contained and conservative compared with others.'

However, another onlooker told The Sun that the family 'looked like sardines in a tin'.  

The Mail Online has also contacted Upwell Parish Council, which runs the cemetery, for a comment.

What is the government's advice for funerals during coronavirus?

Faith leaders and Public Health England have worked together to create guidance for funerals during the ongoing cornavirus crisis.

The guidance is to ensure communities, the funeral industry and the NHS are protected during the pandemic.

Funerals are a concern because Covid-19 is an infectious disease and can be transmitted when large groups of people congregate.

However, with the government say that with certain precautions, funerals should continue to take place.

The guidance includes restricting the number of mourners who attend funerals, so a safe distance of at least three steps can be maintained between individuals.

Only members of the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend funeral, while any individual displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend.

Those who do attend will need to adhere to social distancing at all times, including when travelling to and from the funeral.

Mourners are also strongly advised not to take part in any rituals or practices that bring them into close contact with the body of a person who has died from or with symptoms of COVID-19. 

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