Consultations, flights and hotels: understand anticipated changes from the funeral of Elizabeth II

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As the UK heads towards the funeral of the queen elizabeth II on Monday (19), the country faces an uncomfortable dilemma: what should and what should not be canceled out of respect for the monarch?

Sporting games and cultural events were almost entirely suspended on Monday, the day of the UK’s first state funeral since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. Museums, banks, businesses, shops and schools will also close on what is now considered a public holiday. .

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But while these closures were mostly anticipated following the death of a monarch whose reign spanned seven decades, others had more serious consequences – leaving some Britons perplexed and angry.

Non-urgent hospital appointments across the country were delayed due to staff shortages, adding to an already unprecedented waiting list for medical care in the country. Tourists have seen their accommodation plans put on hold, travelers are warned that flights will be stopped to avoid noise over London, and funerals and food services are braced for disturbances.

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“It’s sad that the queen is gone, but potentially letting someone else get worse doesn’t help,” said photographer Dan Lewsey, who told the CNN her mother’s check-up after a cancer diagnosis was delayed by a hospital in Shropshire, West England. “Normal life should be able to go on to some extent.”

The confusion reflects a country that has struggled with how best to honor the queen. Despite decades of planning for Elizabeth II’s death, the government refused to issue firm guidance on what should and should not happen during the national period of mourning, leaving many decisions to service providers.

This has resulted in totally different approaches to companies and services. Britons were asked not to ride bicycles or go without weather updates. Some changes, such as a supermarket’s decision to mute the beep at the cashier, were derided online. But others left people worried about essential services.

“Closing essential services like food banks, scheduled hospital appointments and funeral services does not respect the Queen. It is a mark of disrespect to the British public,” said Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, political activist and author of “This Is Why I Resist.”

Changes in the functioning of hospitals and banks

The suspension of some medical treatments caused widespread concern. “Of course it is very sad that the Queen has died, and a funeral is important, but we are asking people to give up life-saving medical treatment for the aristocracy,” Marcia Allison, 39, told PA Media after learning. that her 69-year-old father had a canceled dentist appointment on Monday.

“It’s abhorrent to ask people like him to lose their teeth for an unelected head of state in the 21st century. That’s not democratic,” she told the news agency.

Bank holidays affect people across the country and have left many hospitals unable to meet their commitments. The Board of Health at Aneurin Bevan University in South East Wales has apologized for the “unavoidable disruption”, telling patients it is “postponing all planned appointments and clinics” to Monday.

It comes at a particularly difficult time for patients. Britain’s National Health Service is operating under severe pressure; a record 6.8 million people are waiting for treatment, according to the latest figures from the British Medical Association (BMA), and there are concerns that the queue could widen further with Monday’s cancellations.

The BMA’s arm to represent junior doctors also expressed outrage that the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (RCOG) delayed examinations on Monday. “Junior doctors spend months dedicated to reviewing these exams. Delays take a significant mental toll as well as potentially affect training progression,” the BMA said.

A spokesperson for the British National Health Service (NHS) said: “As with any bank holiday, NHS staff will work to ensure that urgent and emergency services, including urgent dental and medical appointments, are available – and patients will be contacted by their local trusts, if necessary, regarding their current commitments”.

While missed hospital appointments are often the result of sudden staff shortages, several companies have also made the decision to cancel their regular services on Monday, often leaving customers in the dark.

Center Parcs, a company that operates several resorts in the UK, drew criticism across the country on Wednesday after announcing plans to close on Monday, leaving guests without accommodation.

The company has since reversed its plan to remove guests for a day, but will still not allow customers to arrive and check into their accommodations on Monday, meaning some have been forced to find alternative places to stay. in short time.

“It just happened out of nowhere,” said David Grierson, 33, who had plans to tour England this weekend and arrive at Center Parcs in Cumbria on Monday. “Now we need to find some extra accommodation… we are seeing over £200 (about R$1,200 per night (e) in the Center Parcs area, availability is very low”.

“It’s a little disproportionate what they did,” Grierson told CNN . “I would totally understand if they made some changes on the day, but blocking people once they were on the road surprised us.”

Center Parcs told CNN : “We believe that this was the right to do and this decision was taken as a mark of respect and to allow as many of our colleagues as possible to be a part of this historic moment”. A company spokesperson added that messages sent from the company’s social media account, warning guests to “stay in their accommodation” on Monday, were “a mistake”.

“Of course, guests can leave their accommodation,” the spokesperson clarified.

‘Inventing as they go’

Meanwhile, public places grapple with the question of whether or not to honor the monarch. Images and tributes to the queen are practically impossible to avoid in British cities: bus stops, train stations, shop windows and advertising boards bear her face. During her lifetime, the queen became probably the most recognizable woman who ever lived – but she became even more visible after her death.

Some tributes, however, feel more natural than others. Guinea Pig Awareness Week has been postponed to avoid conflicts with the sovereign’s funeral. An image of the late queen surrounded by tins of baked beans in a British supermarket has drawn mild ridicule online. Another supermarket chain, Morrisons, confirmed to CNN who lowered the volume of the “beeps” emitted when an item is scanned at the checkout, out of respect for the late Elizabeth II.

Numerous companies and groups have joined Center Parcs in issuing bewildering advice. British Cycling apologized after it “strongly” recommended that people not ride bicycles during the state funeral. It has now removed that recommendation from its websites, admitting that we “got it wrong”.

The government has warned companies that “there is no obligation for organizations to suspend business during the period of national mourning. Depending on the nature and location of their business and the tone of the events planned, some companies may consider closing or postponing events, especially on the day of the state funeral.”

Confusion also surrounded the other funerals scheduled to take place across the country on the day the queen is laid to rest. “If a chosen crematorium or cemetery has made the decision to close, for whatever reason, funeral directors are working with families to find another date, or another location, that they are happy with,” the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) said. , in English) in a statement.

“NAFD and other funeral industry bodies have advised their members that these decisions must be led by the needs and wants of bereaved families,” the group said. The statement added that reduced transport connections on the holiday could prevent guests from reaching funerals.

Flights will also be affected. Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s biggest transport hubs, announced it would cancel some flights on Monday to reduce noise pollution over London on the day of the funeral. The airport previously halted flights for a two-hour period on Wednesday to “ensure silence” during a ceremonial procession of the queen’s coffin.

“Most of the hearings will not take place” on Monday, the country’s court service said. Driving tests will not be performed. And food banks were forced to change staff to stay open. The Wimbledon food bank in south west London initially said it would close, but later clarified that it could open on Monday thanks to “overwhelming support” from last-minute volunteers.

Monday’s funeral will be attended by millions of Britons. It will be the “biggest individual policing event” that London’s Metropolitan Police have ever held, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Force, Stuart Cundy, said during a press conference on Friday.

But the event has left companies not involved in its realization on a loose end, as they balance their services and staff with the momentous nature of the Queen’s death.

“It’s a moment of great national significance, whatever your views on the monarchy,” Grierson said, reflecting on his interrupted holiday and the cancellations seen across the UK in general.

“(But) a lot of businesses may not have government guidance on what to do – so they’re just trying to get to that as they go along.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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