The Government’s U-turn on allowing more than 10 people at a funeral signals to New Zealanders that they can be trusted to act appropriately.
Invercargill deputy Mayor Toni Biddle, who was right behind a petition to change the rules, said the whole country had gone to battle on what was considered people’s civil liberties.
“I am happy that there has been change and consideration given to both health and safety and whanau pani (grieving families).”
The Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Funeral Directors Association met today to work out a solution to mitigate the health and safety of people at such gatherings.
Although it has been decided to increase numbers to 50, no food or drink can be served at congregations afterwards.
Toni’s argument was that funerals shouldn’t be considered a social gathering, because people were not drinking alcohol there. However, a wake was different.
The Minister of Health Dr David Clark addressed the nation saying coronavirus had spread at funerals around the world – including 100 in the United States that had 30 deaths, and three in South Africa that reported 200 cases.
“This is a very real and understandable public concern, and we have listened to concerns,” he said.
Funeral directors would have to submit a form of exemption on behalf of their clients, to the Ministry of Health, to allow extra family and friends (up to 50), to come together and grieve.