Health officials urge Remembrance Sunday events to go-ahead
Organisers of Remembrance Sunday events in Norfolk are being urged to do all they can for them to go ahead whilst ensuring they remain “dignified and safe”.
In a letter outlining the county’s approach to November’s annual day of remembrance, Dr Lousie Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, says “it is our current intention to support local areas to enable some form of Covid-19 secure public act of remembrance to take place, where it is safe to do so and where government regulations still permit it”.
MORE: ‘Stay away’ plea for town’s Remembrance DayIt comes as the Royal British Legion said it would not be organising its normal parades, which often involves dozens of older veterans, instead encouraging people to safely mark Remembrance Sunday in a socially distanced way.
While parades and memorials may still take place, with the final decisions up to councils, many are already cancelled.
Norwich City Council has said the public event at the war memorial outside City Hall will not be going ahead, while West Norfolk council will instead be holding a closed service at the war memorial in Tower Gardens, King’s Lynn, on Sunday, November 8.
However in Swaffham, the town council has taken planning Remembrance Day into their own hands after the Royal British Legion stepped back.
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Government guidance states there is an exemption in Three-Tier areas allowing for Remembrance Sunday events, as long as precautions are taken, with priority for Armed Forces veterans and serving personnel to take part.
Rules stipulate that gatherings involving more than six people need to undergo a thorough risk assessment.
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The Norfolk guidance states that Remembrance Sunday public acts of remembrance can be planned provided they comply with the rules and are organised by councils, charities such as the Royal British Legion, or places or worship.
MORE: ‘We should respect the dead’ - town council to plan Remembrance Day serviceIn the letter, Dr Smith states that “we recognise that this year, the time of remembrance will be even more poignant for our communities”, adding Norfolk is seeking to “be clear on what can be done safely, to facilitate this”.
Despite the absence of mass gatherings, the Royal British Legion is still asking citizens to pay their respects, either by taking part in a two-minute silence from their doorsteps at 11am on Sunday, November 8 or watching events on television.
The Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in London, which is typically attended by thousands, will be closed for the first time in its history but will be screened on BBC1.
The Poppy Appeal is also running as usual despite the pandemic.