How Covid-19 is Affecting Funerals
Last Updated 17th June 2021
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 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, wear a type IIR mask or superior, wash your hands or use hand gel regularly, and you must 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.
Please note that from Saturday 8th August, it will be mandatory for face coverings to be worn, both when entering a funeral director's premises and for all indoor funerals.
We are able to offer in person arrangements, by appointment only, at our premises, this is limited to either 2 people from different bubbles, or up to 3 people from a single bubble, subject to existing self-isolation recommendations. For those where this is not practical, or those who are not comfortable with this, we offer phone or video call appointments, paperwork can then be posted or emailed as necessary. We ask that all visits to our premises are done by appointment.
From Monday 6th July 2020, 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/support bubble.
• The same driver will remain with the vehicle from leaving the garage until its return.
• Drivers will wear a mask.
• Passengers are required to wear a face covering.
When discussing services with ministers/celebrants, some are happy to do this in person, others still prefer phone and video calls.
All Funeral Services
Funeral service attendance is no longer legally limited to a certain number, instead, each individual venue has to conduct its own risk assessment to see how many they can accommodate and still maintain social distancing. This means the number will change from place to place.
No congregational singing is permitted, however we are able to play recorded versions of hymns, we have found most people prefer this to just listening to the organ, but it is personal preference.
Where safe, and we are permitted to do so, we will carry the coffin with up to 6 bearers. Families can choose to carry the coffin themselves if wished, where 4 bearers are sufficient to carry the coffin, family bearers can be mixed with our staff, where 6 bearers are required, we are unfortunately still unable to mix.
Face coverings must be worn, unless exempt at all indoor funeral services. This will include our staff, who will also wear them at outdoor services.
Social distancing should be maintained at all times.
The majority of Churches are now open for funerals, with the exception of Methodist Churches, where many remain closed. Mass is permitted, however the sharing of wine is not, use of communal service books and Bibles is also not permitted. It may be possible for a soloist or small group of singers to perform.
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 is limited to a 20 minute service (it is possible to extend this by booking an adjacent service time, at an additional cost), limited to 18 and 5 mourners in the large and small chapel respectively. When entering the Chapels, the chairs are all spaced 2m apart, you are free to move them to sit with your household/bubble, though we do ask they are returned to the marked areas at the end of the service.
Octon Crematorium is currently limited to 70 people, with normal service length permitted.
There are options for services to take place elsewhere for numbers up over this, both for religious and non-religious services, please contact us to discuss this.
Attendance at burials is no longer legally limited, though as elsewhere, some cemeteries are capping the number as their risk assessments deem appropriate.
Most shops have now re-opened, you can also place online and telephone orders. We are able to accept orders as we normally would, and will fulfil them through our usual florists.
Our printers are fully operational and we able to produce bespoke service sheets as normal. With reduced attendance, and no communal service books, it is currently very popular to have these, both for the service itself, and to send out as mementos for those who are unable to attend.
Reception Venues/Wakes (from 21st June 2021)
At a Covid-secure venue, such as a pub or restaurant
There is no longer a legal limit on numbers attending a wake, each venue will follow its own risk assessment to determine their maximum number. Though traditional buffets are not allowed, buffet food may be pre-plated by the venue and served at the table. Social distancing should be maintained at all times between different households/bubbles.
In a private venue, ie a garden
The legal limit has also been removed for the first time, if numbers are to be over 50 outdoors, it is the responsibility of the host (or nominated person) to complete a risk assessment, which must allow for social distancing, this must be made available at the wake, and held for a minimum of 28 days afterwards. If you are using caterers, you must share your risk assessment with them, and get one from the caterers as well. You must also follow the risk assessment and put in place any identified aspects, this could include but not limited to: one way systems, signage, increased ventilation. If using a marquee, this will only count as outdoors if at least 50% of the sides are open. Failure to do so carries the risk of a £10,000 fine. It is not permitted for these events to take place inside a private home or marquee where at least 50% of the sides are closed.
Travelling to a Different Area
A funeral is a permitted reason to travel in all areas. If you are travelling from abroad and need advice, please contact us.
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 personal protective equipment, minimising both any risk to our staff, but also to families and any other residents. All our staff attending deaths are being tested twice a week, and have received both of their vaccinations.
Most crematoria have livestreaming facilities available. We may also be able to provide livestreaming to funerals taking place elsewhere, such as Churches and Cemeteries. For full details, please see our Livestreaming page.
Ashes Interments, Scatterings and Memorial Services (from 21st June 2021)
Like wakes, these are no longer legally limited, though venues will still have to follow the limits of their risk assessents. If you feel the time is right to have a service or event to remember the life of your loved one, please contact us and we can discuss your thoughts and wishes.
We all want the best for grieving families and are working hard to provide the best service possible. If you have any questions at all about arranging or attending a funeral, please do get in touch.