REDDITCH Council is asking residents if they really need to attend funerals during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Redditch Crematorium is to close on weekends and bank holidays as a result.

The facility will remain open on weekdays, although Redditch Borough Council continues to recommend essential visits only to all its public buildings in line with national guidance.

In addition access to the borough council’s Bereavement Services is now telephone-only, with the office closed to in-person appointments.

Other internal measures have been taken, including extra cleaning routines, increased access restrictions, and staff training and support.

The outside of the crematorium and surrounding cemetery are unaffected, and remain open 9am to 5pm seven days a week.

Mike Birkinshaw, Redditch Borough Council’s Bereavement Services manager, said: “We’re making changes now to ensure our critical operations continue throughout, and in support of government guidelines on social distancing as well.

“We are still able to welcome people to remember loved ones during the week, where the crematorium including its Floral Hall and Book of Remembrance will remain open. We are keenly aware that the first weekend of the specific closures includes Mothering Sunday."

He added: “We are encouraging everyone to heed the strong advice coming from the government and public health services, and to consider whether you really need to visit a memorial, or indeed attend funerals in general, at this time.”