THE trial re-opening of Barry’s Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery saw a total 1250 visitors flock to the burial ground during the first sessions.

The cemetery saw 600 people attend the first session on Monday, May 4 with more visitors arriving on the Wednesday and Friday.

But, while the majority of people had responded to the opportunity in a positive way, there were further incidents which required attention from police officers.

During the first session a member of security was spat at and another coughed at.

Barry Town Council (BTC) clerk, Emily Forbes said: “The council has listened to the public and due to the change in Public Health Wales Regulations.

“During the first week of opening we saw a huge number of visitors – a total of 1250 visitors across the three sessions.

“The council responded to the community’s request to be able to visit their loved ones and lay flowers and the public response to social distancing and safety measures has overall been positive, respectful and co-operative.

“However, despite clear signage and communication from staff, some visitors did not adhere to social distancing rules and were abusive and aggressive in their manner.

“Some ignored the signage and advice that facilities had been withdrawn to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus, through use of water, bins, benches and public toilets.

“There were a number of incidents over the three sessions which required police involvement and some of these have been overwhelmingly condemned by the local community.”

BTC has reviewed numbers and incidents, with these decreasing, will maintain the current public opening schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 3pm to 6pm.

This will be reviewed on a weekly basis and will only be maintained if risks can be controlled and if the public fully co-operates.

Ms Forbes added: “A number of concerns have been raised by the public regarding vehicle access.

“Given the numbers of cars seeking entry to the cemetery over the week, the council has had to make the decision to only allow pedestrian access.

“On Monday, May 11 numbers had dropped from the previous week to 233 visitors, but this is still a high number of visitors which can pose further public safety and public health risks.

“Pedestrian access will continue in order to mitigate against any further risks.

“We understand that this may be disappointing for those with reduced mobility, but this is to ensure the safety of all visitors during this emergency period where the cemetery is only open for short periods of time on certain days.

“Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are allowed to enable access for those with reduced mobility to visit the grave side.

“The council has had to put measures in place including employing additional security to support the flow of visitors and to ensure the area is as safe as possible for the public and the workforce.”

The rules state there is pedestrian access only; facilities including water, bins, benches and public toilets are out of use; and observe social distancing at all times when visiting, keeping two metres apart (six feet) and respecting other visitors when attending the cemetery.

Visitors should observe signs and caution tape around the cemetery which have been put in place for your own safety and to protect yourself and others.

Use hand sanitiser pumps provided at the entrance to prevent any spread of the virus when entering and leaving the cemetery

Adhere to the one-way system in place and follow the signage around the cemetery for your own safety.

Those in vulnerable groups or over 70s should still be shielding and staying at home to protect their health.

The overall message remains the same - to stay home and stay safe - and the council is not condoning those in vulnerable categories making visits to the cemetery.

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus must not enter or visit the cemetery until after the 14-day self-isolation period has passed.