Funeral arrangements during the coronavirus crisis are different to how they’re usually run. With lots of new restrictions, funerals won’t look the same (and you may not even be able to attend).
With the UK now on full lockdown in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, life really has dramatically changed in such a short period of time. As challenging as this current pandemic is, all the normal pressures of modern life still apply on top of it. And of course, the death of a loved one is one of these.
Sadly, the coronavirus has put many people at risk and at the time of writing, the death toll is rising. Self-isolation measures put forward by the UK government will hopefully be enough to halt the virus spreading in time. But until then how the British public go about doing normal things has had to radically chance.
Funeral arrangements have also changed. Below, we’ve compiled a list of as much information as we can to help our readers understand how to go about making funeral arrangements during the coronavirus crisis. We’ve also included advice on who can attend funerals.
- Can I attend a funeral?
- Who makes funeral arrangements?
- Other things to consider during the coronavirus changes
Can I attend a funeral?
This all depends, unfortunately, on your relationship to the departed. Since UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address on Monday the 23rd March 2020, only close family members are permitted to attend a funeral.
This is incredibly sad and means many friends, co-workers and extended family members won’t get an opportunity to say goodbye to someone they knew. But it’s also a necessary measure to make sure too many people don’t all gather in one place, potentially spreading coronavirus between them.
We know this is going to upset many people but take solace that it’s not forever.
Also, if you’ve shown symptoms of the virus and are self-isolating, then you will be unable to attend any funerals. Even if it’s a close family member. The safest thing to do is to stay home and rest.
We understand this is going to be incredibly difficult for many people. It will, however, keep your other family members safe and free from infection.
Can I still make funeral arrangements?
Yes, funerals are an essential service. Our departed loved ones still need to be given funerals even during a health crisis. They also give those left behind the chance to say goodbye and celebrate their lives. Funerals are our way of honouring those we’ve lost and acknowledging their time on the planet.
While weddings and many other public and personal events have been cancelled during the coronavirus crisis, funeral arrangements are still continuing as normal.
However, as we said above, for the duration of this pandemic it’s now law that all funerals are small family affairs. Attendance must be restricted to only ‘close family members’. You need to think about the size of the room: everyone must be seated at least 2m apart from each other (in all directions). The funeral home or church will advise you of the maximum number of people who can fit into the venue based on the 2m rule.
What about wakes?
Gatherings after a funeral such as wake also can no longer go ahead until further notice. Again, this is to prevent large numbers of people gathering in one place. Many venues that would traditionally be used for wakes are already closed due to government regulations.
A funeral can now only be a small ceremony at an appropriate venue.
All individual crematoriums have their own guidelines and policies which must be adhered to. But some may be happy to arrange an online broadcast of a funeral ceremony. This will allow the departed’s friends and loved ones who are not in attendance to witness the funeral from home remotely.
We know this is a poor substitute to being there in person, but during this desperate time it may be preferable to not being there at all. More and more people have embraced video conferencing in the wake of coronavirus to stay in touch with loved ones. So this is just an idea you may be able to take advantage of.
Other considerations for funeral arrangements
Here is a list of things to keep in mind when preparing your funeral arrangements:
- Consider who can be there and who can’t be. Remember it can only be close family members.
- Do not allow those with respiratory conditions or in other high-risk groups to attend.
- It’s going to be a challenge to arrange professional service sheets. Consider what other options are available. Maybe print them yourself?
- Make sure the ceremony is recorded so it can be watched by those not in attendance.
- The service will need to be shorter than usual. Discuss this with your provider.
- Consider arranging a ‘Celebration of Life’ ceremony for once this pandemic is over. This will allow everyone to pay their respects together at a later date.
- Respect all social distancing requirements.
What about on the day of the funeral?
When the day comes it may be different to any funerals you’ve been to before. Whether or not you’re the organiser or just in attendance, please bear the following in mind:
- Be sure to wait inside the funeral car until the director asks you to enter the chapel or crematorium.
- Remember not to share the car with anyone outside of your immediate household.
- Maintain social distancing measures: this means not shaking hands, hugging or kissing.
- Make sure you wash your hands or take advantage of sanitiser.
- Allow staff to open and close doors. Avoid doing it yourself if you can.
- Stick to the assigned seating arrangements.
- It may not be appropriate to touch the coffin.
To learn more about the dos and don’ts during the COVID-19 crisis you can see the government’s advice here.
To learn more about arranging funerals please read this advice here.
Finally, for more tips about arranging funerals from Moneymagpie check out this article here.
Stay safe everyone, and if possible stay at home.