Arranging or attending a funeral is a very personal and emotional time and knowing what to do at the moment can be tricky. So, what should you do during the coronavirus outbreak?
Can I still go to a funeral?
You shouldn't attend a funeral if you are self-isolating because you think you have coronavirus, or if you think someone you live with might have it.
Can I still arrange a funeral?
Currently guidelines say that funerals should continue as normally as possible. However, families are being asked to consider restricting attendance to 'close family members' only to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus to attendees and staff involved in the ceremony.
It is no longer appropriate to hold a gathering after the ceremony at any venue, including the family home.
Also, individual crematoriums may have their own guidance and this should be considered when arranging a funeral. They may also provide online broadcasting so mourners can watch the service without attending in person.
When arranging a funeral, you must consider the wider guidelines in place at the moment, including social distancing, good hand hygiene, avoiding physical contact and to be particularly mindful of those in at-risk groups (such as those over 70).
What do I need to think about when arranging a funeral?
When arranging a funeral at the moment, it's certainly worth considering the following before you contact a funeral director:
- who you want to attend, being mindful of those in high-risk groups
- arranging service sheets as service books are unlikely to be available
- recording the eulogy on a phone or other recording device so those not in attendance can listen or watch at another time
- services may need to be shorter so the venue can be cleaned between services
- organising a celebration of life or memorial for a later date, when it's safe to do so
- social distancing requirements
- whether it's appropriate to have family members bearing the coffin
Coping with a bereavement at this time
The death of someone close to us can be one of the hardest things we ever have to deal with – grief is never easy. But at the moment it may seem just that bit harder as we feel more detached from our usual support networks. Cruse Bereavement Care have more information on dealing with a bereavement during the coronavirus outbreak.
What changes on the day?
As well as the considerations above, there are certain things you should do on the day to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
- Wait outside in the car until you're asked to enter the building by the celebrant, chapel attendant or funeral director.
- Don't shake hands with anyone, including the minister, funeral director or other mourners.
- Bring hand sanitiser and use hygiene products made available at the venue.
- Allow staff to open and close doors to the service to restrict the number of people touching door handles.
- Numbers in the venue are likely to be limited. Stick to any assigned seating plans and keep your distance from other mourners.
- You may be advised not to touch the coffin as you leave the service.
For more information
For more information about the current guidelines you can visit the following websites: