How Coronavirus is Affecting Funerals
This page will be updated as new information is released, it is meant as a general summary of what is currently happening with all funerals. In the event that we are caring for a family whose loved one has passed away from Coronavirus, we will speak to the family individually if any special measures are required.
Each family we are looking after will be updated as anything changes that directly affects them.
It is a strange world that we are living in at this time, and many normal practices have had to be suspended or adapted in order to fight this virus, unfortunately funerals are included in this.
We are following government advice and advising that all those that fall into groups identified as 'at risk' do not attend services, as hard as this will be, in some cases this may well include family members. All services should be planned as small private events, if people continue to ignore the guidance being given, it is likely that eventually attended services will not take place at all, which is not what we want for families, so please follow guidelines
We will discuss with each family individually what we feel has a realistic possibility of taking place, although this is of course outside our control and will need to be amended if guidance changes.
As with many companies, the self-isolation recommendations are having an impact on us, some staff are no longer at work, others working from home. Due to this we are asking that wherever possible, arrangements are made by phone/video link, paperwork will then be posted or emailed as necessary. Where absolutely essential, we can receive people at our premises, by prior arrangement only, with a maximum of 2 people attending, subject to existing self-isolation recommendations.
We have unfortunately decided to remove limousines from service in order to maintain social distancing.
When discussing services with ministers/celebrants, in almost all cases this will now be done by phone and email.
We have been advised that from Friday 20th March, Catholic Churches will no longer be holding funeral services, although clergy can conduct graveside services and at the crematorium, subject to each member of clergy's personal situation.
Church of England Churches
We have been advised that from Friday 20th March, Church of England Churches will no longer be holding funeral services, although clergy can conduct graveside services and at the crematorium, subject to each member of clergy's personal situation.
Funeral services can take still place in Church if there is no other option, but families should look towards a graveside or crematorium service.
Currently burials are continuing as normal, some cemeteries have started to limit the numbers permitted at graveside.
Services are still being held, some crematoria have removed service books and spaced chairs to allow social distancing. This varies between the individual crematoria. Most offer the option of a video link or webcast, so those unable to attend can see the service.
York Crematorium have just announced a restriction on the numbers permitted to attend services, 10 people in the large chapel, and 5 in the small. The webcast option is no longer an option due to the system being overloaded, instead all services, unless we ask for them not to be, will be recorded, free of charge. The video files will then be sent to us, to pass on to the family. Carrying of coffins on shoulders is no longer permitted, and all will be on a wheeled bier.
An increasing number of florists are finding it difficult to source flowers for floral tributes. If you would like them, we may not be able to supply specific requests.
After the announcement to close all pubs, restaurants and cafes, it is likely now that all will not be able to proceed.
An issue we are encountering across all services, both religious and non-religious, is a lack clergy/celebrants able to lead them, partly due to the impact of the government guidelines, and partly due to those able to lead services taking on so many, as time goes on this will get harder and harder. If families are wanting to have a minister/celebrant lead the service, we are asking them to be flexible in their requirements.
Attending a Death
Please be aware that whenever we attend a death now, whether at a house, or a care facility, we will be wearing protective equipment, minimising both any risk to our staff, but also to families.
We all want the best for grieving families and are working hard to provide the best service possible.