FUNERAL services are to be limited to a maximum of 15 mourners while the coronavirus crisis continues, a council in the North-East has said.

Durham County Council has said a free webcast of services will be available to download the following day for those who are unable to attend.

Some registry ceremonial services, such as weddings, civil partnerships and non-statutory celebrations, have now been suspended in line with Government advice.

The measures are part of a wide of council services that have been affected by Covid-19 pandemic.

Rubbish and recycling collections remain as normal, but garden waste collections will be delayed until April 28.

Residents will still receive all 17 collections as part of their subscription and the council is contacting all customers to let them know of the changes.

Household waste recycling centres are closed until further notice.

While parks in County Durham will remain open to local residents for exercise, all play areas and beaches are closed to the public to help prevent any further spread of the virus.

Geoff Paul, the council’s corporate director of regeneration and local services, said: “This is to stop the spread of Coronavirus and protect lives.

“We will continue to deliver these essential services and appreciate the support we continue to receive from members of the public.”

As passenger numbers on public transport are expected to fall significantly during this time, Durham’s park and ride service will run on a reduced service. The council will be suspending parking charges in all of its car parks both on and off street to assist key workers.

Council pest control services will also be reduced and will only be accepting bookings relating to treatment of rats, mice, bed bugs, cockroaches and fleas. This will be kept under review in line with current Government advice and will be monitored on a weekly basis.

All roadworks will stop with the exemption of critical works which includes emergency repairs, winter gritting, road traffic accidents and essential highway defects.

The cones and temporary signs will have to remain in place for the safety of all road users, so drivers are asked to be mindful when passing through and report any incidents.

Mr Paul said: “We have been working hard to ensure that essential services are delivered for residents and communities throughout the county.

“We are committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our communities and I am delighted with the positive response from all employees.’’

“We have also had fantastic response from many volunteers and all residents are being urged to be good neighbours during these uncertain times and think about who is living next door.

“In the meantime, we would like to stress the importance that residents stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary.”

Customer Access Points have been closed but help is available from the council by calling 03000-260-000.