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Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland, Dr. Marcia Graham, is imploring citizens to be mindful of physical distancing rules when planning funerals in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

No more than 50 persons are allowed at a funeral service and no more than 15 at the burial site.

Dr. Graham, who was addressing the monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation at the entity’s offices in Savanna-la-Mar recently, suggested that persons make a guest list of 50 persons to invite to the funeral in order to prevent any confusion and overcrowding at the event.

“Decide which 50 persons you want at the funeral and let it be known to persons that if they are not on the list, they will not be admitted on the property. These are not normal times, these are COVID times and if you will allow your memory to serve you well, one of our first clusters of the virus in this country came from a funeral,” she said.

“We are Jamaicans, we know our culture and we have to be practical, so don’t set yourself up to be known as the person who held that funeral that caused an outbreak of COVID or any other disease in Westmoreland. We can do without that sort of reputation,” she added.

Dr. Graham noted, however, that the number of funeral attendees must only be 50 persons if the venue will allow seating of 40 square feet per person and for a six-foot distance to be maintained between every two attendees.

“It does not matter how large the church is; 50 [persons] is your maximum. If you have a small church, 50 is not your maximum. Measure your seating space divided by 40 and that is the maximum number of persons you can house,” she advised.

“Having decided your maximum, you must then mark out where the persons are going to sit six feet apart within that area to maintain physical distancing,” she said.

Dr. Graham said the funeral venue must have proper facility for hand sanitising, and the wearing of face masks must be strictly enforced.

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