Coronavirus (Covid-19) and how it is affecting funeral services.
UPDATE – 26th June 2020
From the 4th July 2020 following the latest announcements from the government we are now making limousines available. Only members of the same household or support bubble who are not currently self-isolating or displaying symptoms of Coronavirus may travel within the limousine. Six people will be the maximum who can travel in the limousine and we can confirm that cars will be cleaned in between services to ensure the safety of all.
The current restrictions are still in place as to numbers that can attend funerals. If the situation changes we will be updating the guidance.
UPDATE – 24th March 2020 – Here is the latest advice we have received from our National Association:
A group of seven organisations representing the funeral, burial and cremation sector have issued joint guidance on the number of mourners attending funerals following the Government’s announcement on limiting attendance to immediate family only.
The Death Management Advisory Group (DMAG), which is regularly liaising with government on the sector’s response to COVID-19, comprises the Association of Private Crematoria and Cemeteries (APCC), Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA); Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers’ Association (FFMA); Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM); National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF) and The Cremation Society.
The members of DMAG are aware of the important and central role of the funeral ritual to the grieving process for many families. However, during these extremely challenging times the transmission of the coronavirus at funeral gatherings to the elderly, frail, those in vulnerable groups along with funeral directors and crematorium staff cannot be overlooked.
DMAG now recommends that funeral services consider limiting attendees to members of the immediate family who are not in any of the high-risk categories and are not self-isolating.
The immediate family being:
Children (and partners)
Limiting attendees must be done sensitively and taking into account individual circumstances. For example, if the deceased person had few, if any immediate, relatives but close a friend wished to attend the service, that would be reasonable – or in the case of the death of a grandparent, attendance by the grandchildren would be appropriate.
DMAG has urged the whole funeral and bereavement sector to work closely in support of each other to deliver, as far as is possible in these difficult times, a meaningful opportunity for the bereaved to say goodbye, whilst endeavouring to protect all those involved.
At this very challenging time all of us at William Emery & Sons are reassuring everyone that we are still open for business and endeavouring to give our support to all our families who suffer bereavement. Rather than call at the office best practice is to ring us in the first instance and we can advise how we can help.
Funerals can still go ahead but with restrictions. We are very disappointed that we have to do this but feel we have no choice as the Coronavirus situation develops.
Most funeral arrangements ideally will need to be made over the phone, using social media and email to comply with social distancing advice. Visits to our premises will need to be controlled for example chapel visits will be by appointment only. The limit at any one time would be to those living in the same household.
We have to think about who will attend funerals and ensuring that at-risk groups (e.g. pregnant women or those with underlying health conditions) are not put at greater risk by attending. For crematorium services they do offer a live streaming service so that people can still watch the service remotely at home or at another time too. We have just been informed that the cost of the webcast service has been reduced to just £40 by Stafford Borough Council to help at this time. Obviously wakes and gatherings after funerals are affected as pubs and venues are closed for the foreseeable future.
We have also been informed that all the local florists are now closed and our wholesaler has closed too which means we sadly will no longer be able to offer that service. Becky our in house florist has some ideas as to an alternative and we will advise families when we have decided on how we will tackle this problem.
UPDATE: We are now able to provide funeral tributes as wholesalers are now back up and running. There are however restrictions as supplies are limited. It’s best to order flowers at the earliest opportunity to have a better chance of getting what you would like.
The advice is changing constantly and we will do our best to keep everyone updated. We want to reassure everyone that we will still operate to the highest standards and continue to provide a dignified and professional service even with the restrictions that have been forced upon us in this very worrying and challenging time for us all.
We are available at all times if anyone has any concerns or needs advice.
Above all lets all stay safe !