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How to arrange or attend a funeral during the coronavirus


During this period where restrictions are being lifted, we are able to offer all of our funeral services. However, we are still following social distancing, our colleagues will continue to wear face masks and we recommend that you do the same when visiting one of our funeral homes. We will be making appointments for up to two people to attend to discuss the arrangements for a funeral. It’s important that we continue to keep you, your family and our colleagues safe.

Whether you need to arrange a funeral or you’re attending one in the coming days, our frequently asked questions will tell you what you need to know whilst we continue to adapt to the Coronavirus.

If you don’t see your question listed, your local funeral team is on hand to help. Our ‘find a funeral director’ link at the top of this page will put you in touch with one of our helpful colleagues.

Updated July 2021


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Arranging the Funeral

How will the coronavirus pandemic affect me arranging a funeral for my loved one?

We are still able to arrange funerals. We are helping families to do this in person at our funeral homes, over the telephone, by email, and by post. We can also offer meetings via FaceTime or Microsoft Teams, as well.

Our funeral homes are safe and secure environments that support social distancing, and we are still providing the protective measures that you would expect to find whilst visiting us, such as wearing face coverings and using hand sanitiser.

When you speak to us, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know, while the coronavirus is affecting day to day life. What hasn’t changed is our ability to offer you, your family and your loved one the care and compassion that we have always done.

Will I need to come to the funeral home to make arrangements?

Please telephone the funeral home, and we’ll agree a convenient date and time with you to discuss the funeral arrangements.

We’ll do this in person at the funeral home, over the telephone, by email, and by post. We can also offer meetings via FaceTime or Microsoft Teams, as well.

We’re continuing to follow social distancing to protect you and our colleagues, and we permit two family members to attend an arrangement meeting.  We still ask that each person wears a face covering when in the funeral home unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons. If either of you have any COVID-19 symptoms, you must not attend. 

Our website contains several useful brochures that you can read before our phone call. We can then talk you through the options and decisions that need to be made.

We still have plenty of experienced, helpful colleagues on hand to help and support you and your family during this difficult time.

If I do need to come to the funeral home, what extra precautions are you taking during the coronavirus pandemic?

If we do ask you to come to the funeral home, this needs to be a visit from a maximum of 2 people from the same household. We will still ask that each person wears a face covering when in the funeral home unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons. If either of you have any COVID-19 symptoms, you must not attend. 

Our colleagues are still practising social distancing, and we will ask you to do the same when you come into our premises. Hand sanitiser will be provided for your use on entering our premises.

We’re keeping everyone safe with more frequent, regular cleaning of the funeral home. Our hygiene standards are excellent, along with the way we carefully carry out our duties.

Since the coronavirus started to affect daily life, we have provided our colleagues with additional personal protective equipment (PPE). You may see some of our team wearing this, from when we come to collect your loved one, right up to the day of the funeral.

Will my local crematorium close during the coronavirus pandemic?

Following the initial COVID-19 restrictions that applied during 2020 and 2021, many crematoria service locations are now operating safely in line with current government guidance.  

When we telephone you to discuss the funeral arrangements, we can check the service location’s capacity for those attending a funeral service. The latest government guidelines have ceased to place a limit on the number of mourners who may attend a funeral service.

We will help you find out what the local crematoriums advice is on social distancing and mask wearing when you make your appointment. Should Government guidance change again, and the crematoria in your area must close due to enforcement of stricter local or national lockdown measures, then we will keep any families affected informed of those changes.

Bretby Crematorium is welcoming up to 65 mourners within our Carnarvon Chapel and up to 30 mourners within our Anglesey Chapel.  We continue to support social distancing to keep families and our team members safe.  We ask that each mourner wears a face covering before entering the waiting areas and the Bretby Crematorium premises unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons.   Our Book of Remembrance chapel and our Flower Room are available once again for personal visits from one family unit at a time.

You are welcome to walk through the Bretby Crematorium grounds or garden of remembrance to remember a loved one, during the hours of 9am to 8pm, but you are asked to continue to observe social distancing and to comply with the requests of the crematorium team. We no longer restrict the maximum number of people who may wish to gather for a pre-planned belief-based service, such as the scattering of ashes on the crematorium grounds.

Can florists still provide floral tributes?

Our florists are on-hand to create beautiful, floral tributes, which you can request as part of the funeral arrangements for a loved one.

Our florists have now reopened in line with the changes for non-essential retail outlets and orders for special occasions, such as birthdays, weddings and anniversaries are available once again.

Will I be able to have a church or graveside service?

Our colleagues will be able to confirm the latest details for you, based on your chosen service location. Each location that has reopened to permit public access to its services will be supporting the Government’s social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety and wellbeing of mourners, clergy and funeral support personnel.  Current government guidance has now removed the maximum number of mourners who may attend a funeral service. The normal service venue limits will now apply.  We ask that each mourner wears a face covering before entering the church unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons.

How many people can attend the funeral service?

Following the latest government guidance, there is no longer a maximum number of people who are permitted to attend a funeral service.  Our funeral team will be able to confirm if your chosen service location has a modest capacity and will be able to guide you on how many family members and friends may attend.

 We will advise you on the recommendations from your service location when we make the arrangements. Many crematoria and places of worship have been actively limiting the number of mourners allowed at each funeral service. Although the government has relaxed the maximum number of people attending a funeral service, our colleagues will be able to confirm the information that applies to your chosen service location.

Some crematoria are offering a webcasting and recording service for families so that any family members unable to attend the service can still be involved. Our colleagues will be able to discuss this with you. Ordering extra copies of the order of service is also a way of involving those who are not permitted to attend.

If our chosen service location has decided to maintain a smaller number of people allowed at the funeral service, can this be overruled because of the new Government guidance?

No. Unfortunately, this won’t be possible.

If your chosen service location has decided to maintain a lower number of people allowed at the service, we ask families to respect this. We are unable to overrule them.

Some crematoria are offering a webcasting and recording service for families so that any family members unable to attend the service can still be involved. Our colleagues will be able to discuss this with you. Ordering extra copies of the order of service is also a way of involving those who are not able to attend.

Who can attend the funeral service?

There is no longer a maximum number of mourners who are permitted to attend a funeral service.  Your funeral arranger will be able to confirm the capacity at your chosen service location. 

How do I make sure that I stay as safe as possible when I’m at the funeral of a loved one?

We are still recommending that each person wears a face covering before entering the service location unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons.  Each service location will confirm its seating arrangements and our funeral arrangers will be able to offer advice on what the current social distancing guidelines are. 

For those not able to attend in person, some crematoria offer a webcasting and recording service, which enables family and friends to be still involved and to pay respect. Our colleagues will be able to discuss this with you. Ordering extra copies of the order of service is also a way of involving those who are not permitted to attend.

Can my relatives or friends carry the coffin into the service location?

We are now able to allow 6 bearers from different households and support bubbles to participate in carrying the coffin into the service location. Our team members and crematorium staff will be unable to form part of the group of 6 bearers if family members and friends wish to shoulder the coffin into the service. Some service locations may still operate their own local restrictions on who can and cannot act as a bearer during a service and we will be able to check this for you at the time of booking the funeral arrangements. All family bearers will need to attend a training session prior to the day of the funeral service.

I was due to attend a funeral service, but I am not an immediate family member. Can I still go?

Please let the family member who organises the funeral make this decision.  We do urge you to consult with family members before the date of the funeral.

For those of you who are asked by the family not to attend the funeral in person, some crematoria offer a webcasting and recording service, which enables family and friends to be still involved and to pay respect. Our colleagues will be able to discuss this with you.

Can I visit my loved one if they have been diagnosed with coronavirus?

Yes.  We can organise a visit that will take place during our normal working hours, by appointment, with your loved one in their sealed coffin.  If Government guidance changes, we’ll let you know.

Only 2 family members from the same household should attend at a time.  We ask that each person wears a face covering when in the funeral home unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons. This supports social distancing Government guidance and keeps you, your family and our colleagues safe.

If a family member has any COVID-19 symptoms, or is isolating in line with government guidance, then they will not be permitted to visit. 

Can I visit my loved one if they have not been affected by coronavirus?

Yes. We can organise a visit that will take place during our normal working hours, by appointment, which you can discuss when we make the arrangements with you.

Only 2 family members from the same household should attend at a time.  We ask that each person wears a face covering when in the funeral home unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons. This keeps you, your family and our colleagues safe. 

Can I still follow our family’s religious customs?

Funerals can still follow religious customs. However, what we can and cannot do will depend on current government guidance and to ensure that we always keep you and us safe.

As always, we want to support you and your family and to fulfil your wishes.  Please let us know your family’s preferences for religious customs when you make initial contact with us.


Services

Can you help me to plan and organise a memorial service for a loved one whose funeral was restricted during the pandemic?

Yes, of course.

We want to help you celebrate the life of your loved one. Please let us know if you’d like us to support you with a memorial service for a loved one whose funeral was subject to restrictions during the pandemic. This is an ideal opportunity to involve those who were unable to attend the original funeral service and make them feel part of the life celebration.

What happens If I have a Central England Co-operative Pre-Paid Plan that includes services you are not currently offering?

Your plan will still work the same, but there may be some services we are unable to offer.  If your loved one had a pre-arranged funeral plan with Central England Co-operative, which includes services which are not yet currently being offered in your area, i.e. church service – we will offer to transfer funds to other products, such as a memorial tribute.

If these alternatives are not required, we will refund the value of these items to your family within 28 days, and one of our colleagues will be able to help organise this.

Will my funeral plan be affected if I have coronavirus?

No, your plan will still be eligible if you pass away as a result of the coronavirus.

Your family can redeem your funeral plan in the same way as has always applied, but there may be some services we are unable to offer in certain locations.  We will offer to transfer funds paid for these items to other products, such as a memorial tribute.

If these alternatives are not required, we will discuss this with the person who has redeemed your funeral plan bond.

There are no medical questions or upper age limits that apply when purchasing a funeral plan.  Please call 01543 421378 or visit www.prepaidfunerals.coop

Can I still have a limousine to take our family to the funeral service?

Yes. Our fleet of limousines are fitted with safety screens to protect you and us. We can offer this service for up to six people. A second limousine can be provided, should it be required. 

Our drivers will wear.  We will provide hand sanitiser for each passenger and between each use, the limousine will be cleaned and sanitised for your protection and peace of mind.

We are still recommending the use of face masks when travelling to protect you, your family and our colleagues. Please discuss your transport needs with us when we make the funeral arrangements, so that we are aware of any concerns.

Please discuss your transport needs with us when we make the funeral arrangements, so that we are aware of any concerns.

Can I still collect donations at the funeral?

No, we are unable to allow the collection of cash donations during the service.   

However, we can help you set up an online obituary or donation that allows family and friends to support a charity, cause or local organisation, as well as add a photo or light a candle in memory of your loved one.


Funeral Attendance

What has changed for funeral services since the coronavirus pandemic started?

We are still able to arrange funerals.  We are helping families to do this in person at the funeral home, over the telephone, by email, or by post. Some of our funeral homes can offer meetings via FaceTime or Microsoft Teams, as well. We will ask you to make an appointment with us to manage the amount of people in our funeral homes.

When you speak to us, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know, including what we can and can’t currently include in a funeral arrangement, while the coronavirus is affecting day to day life.

What hasn’t changed is our ability to offer you, your family and your loved one the care and compassion that we have always done.

What happens to the funeral service if I am displaying symptoms of coronavirus and cannot attend?

In line with Government legislation, if anyone due to attend the service is self-isolating, or suffering from coronavirus, they must not attend the funeral service. 

Some crematoria are offering a webcasting and recording service for families so that any family members unable to attend the service can still be involved. Our colleagues will be able to discuss this with you.

How will I know that the cremation has taken place if I have requested a Bretby Direct Unattended Funeral?

The colleague who helps you make the arrangements will let you know the time and date that the funeral of your loved one will take place.


Payments and Charges

Are you charging families that need to keep their loved one in your care if this is longer than usual?

No. There is no reason to delay the organising of the funeral service, and we will do everything we can to help you arrange this in the same way we always would.  We aim to have the funeral date arranged for you within 7-10 days.

What happens if my funeral service gets cancelled?

Don’t worry. This is unlikely. If there are exceptional circumstances, we will contact you and let you know what needs to happen next. 

You will only pay for the services you receive.  If we must make any last-minute changes to the arrangements we have agreed with you, we will discuss this with you first. The coronavirus situation is continually changing, and we are doing everything we can to help our families and communities through this difficult time.

If for any reason a cancellation does happen, you will be refunded within 28 days for any services that you have paid for and that we have not been able to provide.

I’m having difficulties paying for the funeral. Can you help?

We fully understand that this is a difficult time for everyone financially. 

The Government has a scheme that can assist in meeting the cost of a funeral. To see if you are eligible, please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments


Funeral Plans

What happens If I have a Central England Co-operative Pre-Paid Plan that includes services you are not currently offering?

Your plan will still work the same, but there may be some services we are unable to offer.  If your loved one had a pre-arranged funeral plan with Central England Co-operative, which includes services which are not currently being offered in your area, i.e. church service – we will offer to transfer funds to other products, such as a memorial tribute.

If these alternatives are not required, we will refund the value of these items to your family within 28 days, and one of our colleagues will be able to help organise this.

Watch our short video on how redeeming a funeral plan works.

Can I still buy a funeral plan?

Yes, you can still buy a funeral plan as usual. Please contact our Funeral Planning team on 01543 421378 or contact your local funeral home. Our colleagues will be able to help you do this through our telephone appointment service.  You can find out more about our funeral plans by visiting www.prepaidfunerals.coop

Have you changed any of the plans you offer or charges for funeral plans due to coronavirus?

No, there are no changes to the plans that we offer or to the plan prices. We have a range of suitable plans to meet different budgets and needs, in addition to a tailor-made plan option.

I’m having difficulties keeping up with my funeral plan instalments, can you help?

Yes. If you are having difficulty with a payment plan on a funeral plan, please contact us on 01543 223762 and we will help you to review your options.

Will my funeral plan be affected if I have coronavirus?

No, your plan will still be eligible if you pass away as a result of the coronavirus.

Your family can redeem your funeral plan in the same way as has always applied

There are no medical questions or upper age limits that apply when purchasing a funeral plan.  Please call 01543 421378 or visit www.prepaidfunerals.coop


General

What has changed for funeral services since the coronavirus pandemic started?

We are still able to arrange funerals.  We are helping families to do this in person at the funeral home, over the telephone, by email, or by post. Some of our funeral homes can offer meetings via FaceTime or Microsoft Teams, as well. We will ask you to make an appointment with us to manage the amount of people in our funeral homes.

When you speak to us, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know, including what we can and can’t currently include in a funeral arrangement, while the coronavirus is affecting day to day life.

What hasn’t changed is our ability to offer you, your family and your loved one the care and compassion that we have always done.

What extra measures are you putting in place at your premises to make sure it’s safe?

Where it’s necessary for you to visit one of our funeral homes, we are limiting this to no more than 2 people. We ask that each person wears a face covering before entering the funeral home, unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons. Should either of you be displaying any coronavirus symptoms, then you must not attend.

Our colleagues are still practising social distancing, and we will ask you to do the same when you to come into our premises. Hand sanitiser will be provided for your use on entering our premises.

We’re keeping everyone safe with more frequent, regular cleaning of the funeral home. Our hygiene standards are excellent, along with the way we carefully carry out our duties.

Since the coronavirus started to affect daily life, we have provided our colleagues with additional personal protective equipment (PPE). You may see some of our team wearing this, from when we come to collect your loved one, right up to the day of the funeral.   

How do I cope with grief and loss and how long will I feel like this?

It takes time to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. Our Grief Chat counsellors are on hand to support you and to listen.

We all benefit from having someone to talk to and these groups can help you through those difficult moments:

Cruse Bereavement Care

Samaritans

The Compassionate Friend



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