THE number of people permitted to attend a funeral service in Fife has today increased from six to 20.

But although lockdown restrictions are being lifted, families and mourners are still being asked to refrain from shaking hands or embracing and chapel seats and door handles are to be cleaned after each service.

Measures taken in March to minimise the risk of Covid-19 saw a limit placed on the number of people who could attend crematoria and cemetery services.

Those measures are now being eased and, in a briefing, Fife Council's Liz Murphy said: "Physical distancing measures will still be in place for now, but this will allow bereaved families to have a chance to hold larger ceremonies to celebrate the lives of their loved one."

She explained: "As national restrictions are gradually being reduced, bereavement services are now taking steps to relax some of the restrictions applied to service provision.

"From Monday June 29 (today) the number of attendees permitted at crematoria and cemetery services will increase from six to 20.

"The Scottish Government guidance on who should attend remains the same and states that it should only be household members of the person who has died and close family, if there is no family then a friend of the person who has died can attend.

"The interment of cremated remains in cemeteries and the scattering of cremated remains with family in attendance will also be reintroduced from June 29."

Ms Murphy, the bereavement services manager, said physical distancing and hygiene precautions must be observed and a number of restrictions remain in place.

They include families and mourners being asked to refrain from handshaking and embracing while, in addition to normal daily cleaning, the chapel seats and door handles must be wiped down between services where possible.

At cemetery and crematoria services, only bereavement services staff and funeral directors will be permitted to handle the coffin. · She added that, while the council's bereavement offices remain closed to the public, staff continue to provide assistance over the telephone or by email and there is online access · to the books of remembrance.

Ms Murphy said: "We will continue to provide free web streaming of cremation services until restrictions are no longer required."

The council said further relaxation of restrictions may be possible when phase three of the government route map is implemented.