U.K. Urges Mourners for Prince Philip Not to Gather in Pandemic
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. officials urged people not to gather or lay flowers following the death of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, a sign of how longstanding traditions will have to be put aside due to the pandemic.
Well-wishers congregated outside Buckingham Palace and laid floral tributes on Friday, following the news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing at Windsor Castle, west of London, at the age of 99.
“The Royal Family have the safety and wellbeing of the public in mind during these challenging times,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement. “In accordance with public health advice, members of the public are asked to continue to follow the current government coronavirus guidelines, particularly on avoiding meeting in large groups and on minimizing travel.”
The British public has also been urged not to attempt to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, which will take place following a period of national mourning -- though the date has not been announced. Flags on public buildings will fly at half-mast.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is relaxing pandemic restrictions in England from Monday, with the re-opening of non-essential shops, while pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers outdoors.
But social-distancing rules will remain in place, including limiting gatherings to up to six people or two households. That could potentially put authorities in a difficult position if large crowds gather ahead of Prince Philip’s funeral.
That ceremony will also have to take into account pandemic rules, which limit the number of mourners able to attend to 30.
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