CORONAVIRUS: Council to review Central Park and cemetery closures after minister's briefing

Boston Council is to look at its decision to close down Boston’s Central Park and the town’s cemetery after comments by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick on Saturday.
The closed gates at Boston Central ParkThe closed gates at Boston Central Park
The closed gates at Boston Central Park

During the Government’s daily live briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Jenrick said both parks and cemeteries should stay open.

Boston Council closed Central Park after consultation with Lincolnshire Police on 24 March. Although other parks in the district remain open, it was thought that people were breaching social distancing rules and gathering in groups in Central Park.

The town's cemetery is currently closed except for funerals, with only immediate family groups being allowed to attend ceremonies.

On Saturday, Mr Jenrick said it ‘cannot be right’ that parks had been closed around the country, saying ‘people need parks’.

“While the virus does not discriminate, we know that the lockdown is much harder for people who don’t have a lot of living space, who don’t have a garden, and who don’t have anywhere for their children to run around.

“That’s why I have made it clear to councils that all parks must remain open.”

In a statement on Facebook, the council said: “Reopening of Central Park is being reviewed with the local policing team to decide the best course of action.”

Mr Jenrik also said: “I’m also asking councils to keep open or indeed reopen cemeteries and graveyards.

“Not for people to congregate in. That must not happen. But for people to make that private visit.

“To seek solace in a word at the grave of someone you have loved. Or to privately lay flowers. There have been times in my life when I have needed to do that. I’m certain there are people who need to do it today.”

The council said: “The Government is issuing further guidance about cemeteries with crematoriums as the law up to this point, specifically instructed that they be closed.

“We will review the position as soon as the guidance is published. Further information about the Central Park and Boston cemetery be issued as soon as we can.”