When Alan Wright’s funeral began on Oct. 2, his surviving family and friends were put in an awkward position.
Prevention measures to slow the stop of COVID-19 saw mourners spaced apart and alone. Each person attending was separated from those around him or her by a gap of 6 feet, a distance meant to slow transmission of the coronavirus.
This social distancing also meant that when Wright’s widow began crying, nobody was within arm’s reach.
For Craig Bicknell, this was unacceptable. Seeing his mother alone and upset, he picked up his own chair and instantly moved to comfort her.
His brother quickly joined the two — just before an employee of the Crownhill Crematorium in Milton Keyes, United Kingdom, came rushing forward to enforce COVID-19 distancing rules.
“You have to put the chairs back, I’m afraid,” the employee said. “You can’t move the chairs, you were told.”
Video of the funeral posted on a Milton Keynes community page shows the sons’ compassionate move and the bizarre encounter that followed.
Bicknell said the family was “absolutely heartbroken” in a Facebook post one day after the incident.
The son ripped the enforcement of COVID measures, pointing out that although he can live with his mother, drive in a car with her and take her to pubs and restaurants, he isn’t allowed to comfort her at a funeral.
Bicknell said the employee’s actions “scared my daughter and shocked everyone in the room.”
The operator of the building, the Milton Keynes Council, issued a response as news of the encounter spread.
“We are sorry to have upset this family,” the council told the BBC.
“We don’t usually step in if a guest needs to be comforted by another family member and in this instance should have taken a more considered approach,” it said.
While it appears this was just an overzealous employee, the family and friends of Alan Wright are not alone in their suffering under COVID-19 restrictions.
Lockdowns and prevention measures in the U.K. and around the world have violated civil liberties and disrupted communities like never before. Kids have faced stagnating education under school shutdowns, workers have seen opportunities and jobs dry up in shuttered economies, and families are now being separated under the auspices of public health.
Unfortunately, this devastating pattern doesn’t appear to be slowing down.
While mourners in the United Kingdom are not banned from comforting relatives yet, there’s no telling what a continued pandemic will spur leaders to do.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.