Following the announcement that Barry Cemetery would re-open on Monday 4th May, Barry Town Council have assessed the success of the opening in terms of the number of visitors and whether visitors adhered to the rules. While over 600 people attended, they report that the vast majority attended graves respectfully and maintained social distancing. However, there were incidents of unacceptable behaviour which were referred to the police.
It's right that the cemetery remains open, provided that access is managed. Please ensure when you visit that you follow the rules, as this is under constant review and failure to do so may result in the cemetery being closed to everyone. This would be devastating to so many people and, therefore, it's vital that no further incidents of unacceptable behaviour arise.
Please see the press release from Barry Town Council below:
Barry Town Council, 5 May 2020:
Feedback from Temporary Opening of Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery
The Council has listened to the public and due to the change in Public Health Wales Regulations began its trial of opening Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery to visitors on Monday 4th May, 3-6pm.
Clearly, there is very high public interest in visiting the Cemetery and laying flowers, and the Council has opened on a trial basis in recognition of the community’s request to be able to visit and remember their loved ones. However, the decision to open on a limited basis was put in place as a trial following an assessment of risk, and by putting new measures in place including employing additional security to support the flow of visitors and to ensure the area is as safe as possible for the public and the workforce.
Over 600 people attended the Cemetery yesterday afternoon and overall, 95% of visitors attended their loved ones’ graves respectfully and fully co-operated with the rules set out by the Council.
However, some visitors did not adhere to social distancing rules, despite clear signage and communication from staff and were abusive and aggressive in their manner. Some visitors ignored the signage that water and bins were not in use and proceeded to tamper with barriers in order to use them. Some brought equipment with them to cut grass at the graveside. Unfortunately, the behaviour of a few is putting other visitors’ safety at risk and cannot go unnoticed.
There were two specific incidents of unacceptable behaviour which are being referred to the Police; one individual spat at a security member and another coughed in a security member’s face. The Council will not tolerate abuse towards its staff or contractors and is reviewing the trial opening in light of this.
Facilities that have been withdrawn are to prevent the possible spread of Coronavirus through use of water, bins, benches and public toilets. This is for the safety of all public and staff and we would ask you to co-operate fully with these instructions.
It is essential to observe social distancing at all times when visiting, keeping two metres apart (6 feet) and respecting other visitors when attending the Cemetery. You will notice signs and caution tape around the Cemetery, these have been put in place for your own safety and to protect yourself and others; please do not interfere with the tape or signage.
When entering and leaving the cemetery please use the hand sanitiser pumps provided at the entrance to prevent any spread of the virus. We ask you to adhere to the one-way system in place, and to follow the signage around the Cemetery for your own safety.
The Cemetery is closed to public vehicles and only pedestrian access will be allowed. This is to ensure the safety of all visitors during this trial period and given the numbers of cars attempting to the enter the Cemetery yesterday, this is required to mitigate against any further risks. Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are allowed to enable access for those with reduced mobility to visit the grave side.
Please note that in line with Government advice, those in vulnerable groups or over 70s should still be shielding and staying at home to protect their health. The overall message remains the same - to stay home and stay safe - and the Council is not condoning those in vulnerable categories making visits to the Cemetery.
If you have any symptoms of Coronavirus you MUST NOT enter or visit the Cemetery until after the 14-day self-isolation period has passed.
We have implemented these additional measures to protect the public and the workforce from any contamination and prevent the spread of the virus.
We will open the Cemetery again tomorrow, Wednesday 6th May from 3pm – 6pm and we will review numbers and public behaviour again. If advice and safety measures are still not followed, or further abuse or unacceptable behaviour is directed at staff, we will have no choice but to end the trial of opening the Cemetery to visitors during this emergency period.
The Council asks for your full co-operation in this matter.