COVID-19 information regarding arrangement and services

We know a lot of our clients will have questions relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak. As the situation is constantly moving, if you have any concerns, please contact your nearest funeral home. Our colleagues will be on hand to answer your questions and find out further information for you; alternatively you can visit the Government website on advice for attending a funeral – www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

We would also ask that all visits to our funeral homes are pre-booked with no more than 3 people in attendance. Our colleagues are continuing to wear face coverings and we would encourage visitors to do the same.

It’s important that we take every possible step to protect our clients, colleagues and communities

Thank you for your understanding.

Funeral FAQ’s during COVID-19

Correct & updated on 19 July 2021

Can I still arrange a funeral and what if I am self-isolating?

We understand that some clients may not feel comfortable coming in to our premises during these uncertain times so we have a number of options available to you for completing your funeral arrangement. You can do so either in our funeral home, over the phone or if you would prefer we can come to your home and carry out the arrangements either in your home or garden (weather permitting) If you have tested positive or are currently self-isolating then we will carry out your arrangement over the phone.

Can we still choose between burial and cremation?

Yes, burial and cremation are both still options and this remains a matter of individual choice. This is particularly important for some faith communities.

Are funeral times and days changing?

Timings will vary from location to location depending upon the facilities and staff available. It is best to talk to us to find out the situation at your chosen crematorium or cemetery.

How many people can attend a funeral?

There are currently no restrictions on the number of people that can attend the funeral however if you feel more comfortable limiting the number of attendees for your service then please let us know and we can support you in communicating this to family and friends. Please see the Government website for the most up to date information – www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

Who can attend a funeral?

As above there are currently no legal restrictions on who can attend a funeral

Why aren’t funerals banned to avoid any risk of infection?

Witnessing the funeral of a loved one plays an important role in helping bereaved families move through the grieving process and not being able to attend can have an impact on long term health and wellbeing.

The Government has made it clear that it wants bereaved people to still have that opportunity so gatherings for funerals can continue – but only if they take place within strict social distancing guidelines and through the limiting of numbers attending.

Witnessing a funeral can’t be deferred and there is no opportunity to repeat it again in the future. Therefore, being there in person, even if a much smaller group than the family would have wanted, remains an important choice that families must be free to make for as long as possible.

While an outright ban might seem like a more straightforward solution, there is real risk of this having serious unintended consequences for the bereaved family. It may be that the family themselves decide that they do not wish to attend, but it is not for us to deny families that opportunity if there is no reason to do so within the government’s guidelines. The important thing is to get the balance right to ensure mourners and funeral, crematorium and cemetery employees are not put at greater risk of infection.

Is there a difference between funerals for those who pass away with COVID-19, as opposed to other causes?

The guidelines for funerals are designed to minimise the risk of transmission between mourners and to key workers (including funeral, cemetery and crematorium staff).

It is important to note that all funeral firms have their own policies. Please also be aware that the policies of crematoria and other venues may vary too, not only in terms of numbers permitted to attend but other small important variations, like whether it’s possible to leave the curtains open, or whether family are permitted to carry the coffin.

How long will the delay be between death and the funeral?

The time between death and the funeral will vary according to available times with the chosen venue, minister or celebrant and other individual considerations.

In line with the current government guidance to not delay funerals, you will be given the earliest time available taking into consideration any dates you wish to avoid.

The process for registering a death has changed under the Coronavirus Act, and documentation can now be submitted digitally. This should make the process quicker and easier for bereaved people and be more streamlined.

The time between the death and a funeral will also be dependent on the cause of death and whether the death is referred to the coroner. Coroner’s procedures remain in place for sudden or unexpected deaths, where something other than COVID-19 is the cause of death – all of the usual arrangements are in place for that.

Can I visit the person that has died in a Chapel of Rest?

Yes, however this is by appointment only. A maximum of three people may visit at any one time. There are no restrictions on the number of times you visit.

Can we use a limousine?

Limousines are available –and carry up to six passengers, our limousines have screens between the driver and passengers and our driver will be wearing a face covering.

What do I tell other family members or friends, who want to pay their respects or feel involved in the funeral but can’t attend?

Some families and friends still don’t feel comfortable attending large gatherings or may not be able to attend due to illness or self isolation sothere are a number of options that could be considered. This might range from having an online gathering at the time of the funeral through various digital platforms, where you can share stories, light candles and play music. Please ask us about the possibility of live-streaming or recording the service, which in some locations can still be arranged. On our on-line tribute and donation site www.Funeralcare.co.uk you are able to share stories, messages and photographs and leave donations. We will work to support families to find the right solutions for them. In some cases there will be no cost, in other cases there may be – so the advice is to talk it through with us.

What should I do if I can’t afford the cost of a funeral?

For anyone who may have difficulty in covering the cost of a funeral the Department for Work and Pensions, Social Fund Funeral Payment may be available. There are also other Government options for support, if needed, such as the Children’s Funeral Fund etc. For a full list of the support available please visit https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/bereavement

What happens if there is a funeral plan in place?

If you have a funeral plan in place please let us know as soon as possible,we will help guide you through the process of redeeming this with us.If you have concerns, or need help tracing a funeral plan, you should contact the Funeral Planning Authority using the form available on their website:

https://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/

Experiencing grief or bereavement

Whenever the death of a friend or loved one happens, it can be an extremely difficult and challenging time. This is likely to be even more prominent for those experiencing bereavement and grief during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The bereaved may struggle with a mixture of different emotions not just because someone has died but with the social distancing measures in place. This might mean you cannot say goodbye in the way you would have liked and could be particularly hard for those isolating alone, and for whom it may be harder to connect with usual support networks. The bereaved could feel waves of intense emotions as they try to come to terms with death. These can include denial, sadness, guilt, shock and anger. All are common and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Grief affects everyone in different ways but the important thing is to grieve and to have the right support to do this. Bereavement Care from Southern Co-op is here to help support you, your family and friends, it’s good to talk.

Learn more about grief and the support available through our own Bereavement Care website at https://bereavementcare.uk/ or call 08081691922

Additional information and support is available through:

NHS; Cruse Bereavement Care (offers advice and support on dealing with bereavement and grief during the coronavirus outbreak);

ataloss.org (provides signposting and services across the UK).

If you are supporting a bereaved child or young person the Childhood Bereavement Network has information and links to national and local organisations.

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COVID-19 information regarding arrangement and services