How coronavirus may affect funerals

Important information

As you will be aware, we are currently facing the threat of a coronavirus epidemic. As a responsible business, we are thinking of possible impacts on funerals already organised and those yet to be planned in the coming weeks and months.


We would like to provide reassurance that our commitment to caring for bereaved people and their loved ones will remain steadfast throughout this period of uncertainty and disruption. 


In our efforts to protect families and everyone involved in arranging funerals, we are considering a range of infection control options in line with the latest advice given by Public Health England. We are also working with partners, such as local crematoria and burial grounds, to ensure we comply with their coronavirus procedures. 


As such, if we find ourselves in a position of increased risk to health, and at risk of furthering the spread of coronavirus, it is possible that we may need to take the following actions:


  • Funeral arrangements being made entirely over the phone, with a visit to a controlled area of our office for form signing with limited face-to-face contact. We would not be able to conduct arrangements at clients’ homes or other venues.


  • Funerals may need to take place very soon after death to minimise the risk of infections.


  • Services at places of worship could be cancelled. In such circumstances, we would be happy to arrange a memorial or thanksgiving service at a church or another venue at a later date, when the risk has passed.


  • Services at any venue could be cancelled. This could result in funeral services at crematoria being ‘live-streamed’ via the internet. We would provide advice aimed at ensuring everyone who needs to view the service is able to do so. Our staff may also be required to wait outside any chapel or building during services, whilst remaining on hand to offer assistance in line with official guidance.


  • Service times at crematoria could be adjusted and/or reduced to allow for increased demand for services.


  • Limousine travel could be cancelled. This could result in the family of the deceased and mourners making their own way to the place of the funeral. 


  • Staff sharing. In the event of widespread staff illness, we have a contingency plan in place with other local family-run and well-respected funeral directors to share personnel if required. Rest assured you will still see the same high standards of care and professionalism from all of our partner organisations.


  • Viewings. We would protect our clients and staff by restricting viewings. However, we would do our best to enable clients to sit with the coffin during this period.


  • We would be unable to conduct any ‘into church’ provision or ‘into house’ during this period.


  • The funeral director and staff would not remain in a chapel or other venue during the service. They will remain close by, outside, ready to assist you when required.


  • Floral tributes may be harder to fulfil to precise specifications due to some flowers being imported from the European continent. 


  • Pre- and post-funeral gatherings may have to be cancelled.


  • In the case of coronavirus related deaths, we may have to arrange a prompt funeral to prevent unnecessary storage and handling of the deceased.


  • We may not be offering our hygienic treatment (embalming) during this period.


  • Outside organisations will impose rules and restrictions – we will adapt our working practices to follow these.


We ask that all visitors to our office are aware of the following:


  • Our reception doors and doorbells are cleaned regularly for your protection.

 

  • We have hand sanitiser in the reception areas of all our offices – please help us to keep you safe by using it. Our staff sometimes find that a client will want to give them a kiss or hug to say thank you for supporting them through a difficult time. We politely ask that you refrain from doing this during this period.


Thank you for your understanding.


This guidance has been prepared in partnership with the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors.

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