City of Lincoln Council has closed all council-run cemeteries in an effort to halt the spread coronavirus. — Update at 6pm: Following further government guidance, the council decided to reopen all of its cemeteries.
Cemeteries, such as Newport, Canwick Road and Eastgate cemeteries, will now be closed until further notice.
Long Leys and St Swithin’s cemeteries have also been shut.
But some residents have urged the council to reconsider its decision because the areas provide open space.
Simon Walters, Director of Communities and Environment at the council, said the decision was taken in line with government guidance.
“Until further notice and to comply with government regulations, all council-run cemeteries and the grounds at Lincoln Crematorium will be closed to the public unless they are attending a funeral service,” he said.
“This is because of the current coronavirus epidemic across the UK and rules on social distancing.
“We appreciate that people like to visit the grave of their loved ones to keep their memories alive and we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
“We very much look forward to reopening all of our facilities at the earliest opportunity.”
But, Jeremy Wright, a local resident who lives near to Newport Cemetery, said the area had been used sensibly by people and urged the council to reconsider its decision.
“The cemetery in the largest open space in the area and has been used most sensibly in recent weeks for local residents to take a short spell of exercise,” he said.
“It is ideally suited to keep a social distance, because of its many interlinked paths, and the opportunity to retreat along these, or through the grass around the graves, in order to maintain a generous social distance.
“I have used it daily and have never seen people inappropriately close.”
Last week, the council announced that Lincoln Crematorium will now only be open for funeral services.
The authority closed its Garden of Remembrance in response to the coronavirus pandemic.