Tag: Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus and Funerals: FAQs

Can I arrange a funeral during the pandemic?

Yes, you can still go ahead and arrange a funeral. Please be aware that while funeral homes will remain open, funerals should be arranged over the phone or via other electronic means, wherever possible.

Can I arrange a funeral if I have coronavirus symptoms?

If you or anyone else involved in arranging a funeral has symptoms of coronavirus, or has tested positive for the infection, please remain self-isolated and follow the government’s advice. You can still arrange a funeral online, or over the phone.

Can I attend a funeral during the pandemic?

The government has advised that funeral services should be restricted to the smallest possible number of attendees to help reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Numbers can be determined by the size and circumstance of the venue.

You should only consider attending a funeral if you are a member of the same household or immediate family member*. People who are clinically vulnerable can attend, with measures put in place to reduce their risk. Additionally, people self-isolating because someone in their household is ill may attend if they do not have symptoms themselves.

However, if you do attend, be sure to observe social distancing guidelines of two metres from other people, and do not make physical contact with anyone from outside of your household.

Any individual displaying symptoms of coronavirus should not attend.

*Immediate family is defined as:

  • Spouse/partner
  • Parents/carers
  • Brothers/sisters
  • Children (and partners)

How should I let people know about an upcoming funeral?

The government has advised that you do not publicly advertise the time or location of a funeral. This reduces the risk of others arriving unexpectedly.

If anyone unexpected does turn up, they may be turned away, which could be distressing for them and the bereaved family.

Is there any way that I can view a service online?

Yes, there are several ways that funeral services can be viewed over the internet. The most common way is via webcasting, or live streaming. Many funeral directors now offer this service which allows many people to attend a funeral, without putting anyone at risk.

How funerals have been affected by Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic has presented an unprecedented set of challenges for bereaved families who are having to arrange funeral services for loved ones, as well as many mourners who wish to pay their final respects.

Whilst funerals are still able to go ahead, there have been some important changes. The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), alongside several other funeral related organisations, have formed the Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG), which is regularly liaising with government officials and cabinet members on the sector’s response to Covid-19.

Things have now been adapted so that a lot of the legal requirements can be done online, minimising the need for actual contact. The certificate needed to register a death (MCCD) and medical certificates from the hospital, coroner or your doctor are now transferred by email. There are, of course, stringent codes to adhere to in all of this, but the system is working well. Registering a death now cannot be done in person by attending a registry office either, but is instead done by telephone, with the required documentation then emailed to the necessary authorities.

Though government directives are changing all the time, churches and chapels are currently closed, along with all buildings used by the public, such as clubs, pubs and hotels. Graveside services and services at the crematorium are however allowed, albeit with reduced numbers and with everyone strictly observing the two metre social distancing guidelines for the safety of everyone involved.

At present, up to 10 people can attend funerals, which should be only the closest members of the family. In many cases, it is not the way families would like to say farewell and it is especially difficult if the family have not been able to visit their loved one in hospital or a care home. Family members – or very close friends if no family – can attend the service even if they are in the vulnerable category or are self-isolating as long as they do not have symptoms of Covid-19 themselves and that they strictly observe the social distancing rules.

Many families are intending to hold memorial services or celebrations of their loved ones’ lives when the current restrictions are lifted, and there are certainly plans being considered for special services of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for those who have died during this crisis, by the crematoriums, churches and chapels.

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