Mourners in Greater Sydney grieving the loss of loved ones have been assured they can leave home during lockdown for compassionate reasons to mark a death anniversary or pay their respects at a grave-site.
An online petition about accessibility at the Rookwood Cemetery has gained about 10,000 signatures and the site posted about changes to its services on Wednesday.
NSW Health has confirmed that under the current orders, cemeteries are not required to close.
In a statement, it said a visit to a grave-site for an anniversary is permitted on compassionate grounds and members of the same household are allowed to gather outdoors.
“Attending a funeral or memorial service is a reasonable excuse to leave home,” a NSW Health spokesperson said.
Ten people can attend a service in Greater Sydney under the current health orders for NSW.
But the Australian Funeral Directors Association’s NSW President Nick Maurer said he was aware of 60 attendees allegedly hoping to attend a funeral at Rookwood Cemetery before the number was reduced to ten.
“The funeral director worked with the police in order to have ten people attend the funeral and the other 50 people were dispersed,” Mr Maurer said.
He said he does not believe any cemeteries have shut during the lockdown to his knowledge.
“They are allowed to be open for compassionate reasons, allowing family members to attend and visit grave-sites,” he said.
But Mr Maurer said there was a distinction between mourners attending a funeral service…