ALL cemeteries in Mid and East Antrim are now open for pedestrian and vehicular access from today in order to accommodate visitors with mobility issues.
Vehicles had been permitted at the four main cemeteries between 9am and 10am each day, however, Council has agreed to allow the additional access to provide more flexibility to those with a disability.
A spokesperson said: “We ask visitors to be aware that social distancing rules will continue to apply within the grounds and cemeteries will be closed to all access 15 minutes before a funeral.
“Council has reviewed its position to ensure that everyone is afforded reasonable access to a cemetery to visit a loved one.
“We would like to thank our citizens for their continued adherence to social distancing guidelines in order to protect our staff and all those using the grounds.”
Cullybackey councillor, Alderman Tommy Nicholl MBE, said: “I am pleased that Council has agreed to allow access to vehicles to all the cemeteries in the borough, as it means people with a mobility issue or disability are not restricted to the hours when they can visit.
“This is a very welcome and common sense approach and I am confident that all those visiting our cemeteries will continue to adhere to the rules around social distancing, as they have been doing since we reopened to the public.
“Every measure has been taken to ensure the safety of our staff and the community, while also respecting the dignity of funeral services when they occur.”
The decision was also welcomed by Alderman Billy Ashe MBE, from Carrickfergus, who added: “This additional access will be a great help to those who wish to visit the grave of a loved one and who require the assistance of a vehicle.
“It will also resolve the problem with parking on footpaths outside cemeteries and in particular at Carrickfergus.
“I have no doubt that members of the public will continue to follow the guidelines around social distancing when using our cemeteries, as they have done so in recent weeks.”