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 Covid-19, we will speak to the family individually if any special measures are required, however there is no additional restrictions on the type of funeral available, and people are still able to come and see the deceased if wished.
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. It's important to remember that you still have choices available for funeral services and we'll do everything we can to accommodate your requests.
We are following government advice all government advice around attendance at funerals. If you are showing any Covid-19 symptoms, you should not attend. If you are in an 'at-risk' group, or self-isolating due to someone in your household having symptoms, we can help to facilitate you attending the service, you should make any others attending aware of your situation, maintain social distancing at all times, wash your hands or use hand gel regularly, use a face covering, and depart as soon as the service is over.
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.
From Monday 6th July, we will be resuming our limousine service with the following in place, please note that failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in a refusal of travel:
• The divider between the driver and passengers (maximum of 6) will remain up at all times, no front seat passengers.
• Between each use, the vehicle will be cleaned with an anti-viral fogging machine, proven to kill Covid-19.
• All passengers in a vehicle must be from the same household/social bubble.
• The same driver will remain with the vehicle from leaving the garage until its return.
• Drivers will wear a mask.
• Passengers are not required to, but recommended to wear a face covering.
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 24th June, Catholic Churches may re-open for small funerals, however it may take some time for them to complete all the necessary preparations. Mass is not likely to be permitted, along with no singing, use of communal service books is also not permitted.
Church of England Churches
Guidance has been issued to say they may be permitted to open for private prayer and funerals from Monday 15th June, however, before doing so, each Church will need to undertake detailed risk assessments to decide if they can open safely.
This is likely to take some time, and it is likely that not all Churches will be able to open safely. For those that can, each Church will set out its own maximum numbers that can attend services. It is advised that singing of hymns does not take place, and organists will not be used in order to limit the numbers attending. Use of communal hymn books and Bibles should be avoided.
The Methodist Church is currently assessing how they can safely re-open.
Currently burials are continuing as normal, some cemeteries are limiting 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.
From 1st June 2020, services will be able to take place inside York Crematorium again, this is a 20 minute service, limit to 10 (18 from 4th July) and 5 mourners in the large and small chapel respectively.
There are still options for services to take place elsewhere for numbers up to 20, however at this time it should still be limited to close family, please contact us to discuss this. Webcasting/Livestreaming is available to open up the service to a wider group, please see the Webcasting page.
Most florists are now open again, although some may be telephone orders only,
After the announcement to close all pubs, restaurants and cafes, it is likely now that all will not be able to proceed. From 4th July, many pubs and restaurants will re-open, though not all of them. Outside of the funeral service itself, the law remains that you can not gather together in more than 2 households inside, or more than 6 people outside, meaning that a 'normal' wake is not yet able to take place. In theory we may be able to book a table at a venue for 2 households, though given the names and contact information that will need to be given, it may be more practical to book this independently.
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've been working hard to ensure all friends and family are able to access the funeral, even if they cannot physically attend the service. We are pleased to have teamed up with another York company to now be able to offer a funeral webcasting service, with high definition video, broadcast level microphone and a private link to allow control over who can view.
At the moment we only have one camera available. This is offered on a first come, first served basis. The webcast is high quality, cost effective, and most importantly, private and unobtrusive. The family can be sure they are not 'on show' to anyone they don't want to be, but can share the service with those who are unable to attend in person. For full details, please see our Webcasting page.
We all want the best for grieving families and are working hard to provide the best service possible.