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How to arrange or attend a funeral during the coronavirus


During this period where we are still socially distancing and taking steps to keep our communities safe, it’s important that you know what to do if you lose a loved one.

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 January 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 over the telephone, by email or by post. Some of our funeral homes can offer meetings via FaceTime or Skype as well.

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.

How can I register the death of a loved one?

You need to register a death within 5 days, including weekends and Bank Holidays. To do this, you will need the medical certificate from either the GP or the hospital doctor. Please speak to one of our colleagues if you are unsure or need any help to do this.

You can find your local Registry Office details at https://www.gov.uk/register-offices, and each location will have details of the current way that you can register a death.

How do I arrange a funeral service if I am self-isolating?

Please call us, and we’ll agree a convenient date and time with you to discuss the funeral arrangements. This will be carried out over the phone, or via FaceTime or Skype.

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.

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

No. You should not visit us at this time.  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 over the phone, or via FaceTime or Skype.

We’re supporting the social distancing guidance from the Government.  Therefore, please do not come to the funeral home while the coronavirus situation is affecting day to day life.

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 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. 

We will also take a simple temperature check upon your arrival, which does not involve any physical contact between you and the team member recording the result. We will let you know if a result highlights concerns that may affect your ability to enter the funeral home.

Our colleagues are all practising the Government guidance on social distancing, and we need you to do the same if we have asked 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. 

Will the funeral home close during the coronavirus pandemic?

No. We will still be on hand to support you and your family.

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 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 coronavirus symptoms, you must not attend. 

We will also take a simple temperature check upon your arrival, which does not involve any physical contact between you and the team member recording the result. We will let you know if a result highlights concerns that may affect your ability to enter the funeral home.

Our colleagues are all practising the Government guidance on social distancing, and we need you to do the same if we have asked you to come into our premises. Hand sanitiser will be provided for your use on entering our premises.

If a funeral home does have to close, due to Government guidance, we will make a decision in line with that; but we’ll keep any families affected by those changes informed.

Will my local crematorium close during the coronavirus pandemic?

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

When we telephone you to discuss the funeral arrangements, we can check the restrictions that may apply at your local crematorium and the service location’s capacity for those attending a funeral service. The government guidance states that regardless of capacity, there should be no more than 30 mourners in attendance at a funeral service. Where a crematorium has capacity for fewer than 30 mourners in normal circumstances, this will continue to apply.

You may still only visit a crematorium chapel if you have an arranged service that you are attending. Social distancing will continue to apply alongside the maximum number of 30 mourners. The crematoria operate an appointment system for the collecting or scattering of ashes and can permit access with social distancing and the maximum number of 6 gathered persons measures in place.

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 30 mourners within our Carnarvon Chapel and up to 14 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 has closed again, as of 5 November 2020, in addition to our Flower Room, and remain unavailable in lieu of the national lockdown measures that have been implemented across the country in January 2021.

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 5pm, but you are asked to continue to observe the rules on essential travel during lockdown, social distancing and to comply with the requests of the crematorium team. A maximum of 6 people are permitted to gather for a pre-planned belief-based service, such as the scattering of ashes on the crematorium grounds.

My loved one wanted to be buried, can this still happen, or will they have to be cremated?

We will check this for you, as it may vary based on the location of the cemetery.

If burials are permitted locally, then we can arrange this, if this is what you or your loved one wanted to happen. However, some cemeteries are restricting services to unattended burials only. When we discuss arrangements, we can confirm the current situation at your preferred location.

The situation continues to change, and we are following Government advice.  We will keep families up to date if the guidance changes once a funeral has been arranged.

Do I need to delay the funeral service until the Coronavirus crisis is over?

No, you should go ahead and have the funeral at the earliest opportunity. It is not possible to delay a funeral service until the coronavirus is over, or whilst regional or national lockdown restrictions are in place within the U.K.

We will do our best to provide you with a choice on times and dates for services. We will work with you to find what works best for you and your family within those choices.

You may want to consider celebrating the life of your loved one with a memorial service at a later date. Please let us know when we discuss the funeral arrangements, and we will contact you when we can offer this service.

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.

We will also take a simple temperature check upon your arrival, which does not involve any physical contact between you and the team member recording the result. We will let you know if a result highlights concerns that may affect your ability to enter the funeral home.

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. 

If your loved one passes away following a positive or suspected coronavirus diagnosis, then we will not be able to offer a visit with an open coffin.

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 supports social distancing Government guidance and keeps you, your family and our colleagues safe. 

We will also take a simple temperature check upon your arrival, which does not involve any physical contact between you and the team member recording the result. We will let you know if a result highlights concerns that may affect your ability to enter the funeral home.

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 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 keep you and us safe at all times.

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 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 four people from the same household.  A second limousine can be provided, should it be required, for those of you from a different household. 

Our drivers will wear PPE and will provide a fresh flow of air from opening the front and rear windows partially during each journey.  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.

To support social distancing, we won’t be able to assist you with getting in and getting out of the vehicle and the wearing of PPE by passengers is a mandatory requirement, even where all four persons are living in the same household.  Each passenger will need to personally source and apply these PPE items prior to the start of the journey. 

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.

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.

Following the introduction of the national lockdown in January 2021, we have closed the front-of-house service for walk-in customers, but our teams are still in-place behind the scenes to fulfil funeral flower arrangement requests placed through our funeral homes.

When non-essential shops are permitted to open again and the lockdown restrictions are eased, our florists will reopen and orders for special occasions, such as birthdays, weddings and anniversaries will become available.


Funeral Attendance

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.

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 set a maximum of 30 mourners who may attend a funeral service.  If a service location normally permits fewer than 30 attendees, this will continue to 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.

Government guidelines to places of worship requires that there is no mingling with anyone outside of your household bubble and to maintain social distancing inside and outside the service location.

We continue to monitor local changes, so that we can offer up-to-date information to families when helping to arrange funerals and there will undoubtedly be local variations in place between places of worship whilst local or national lockdowns and tier restrictions apply.

How many people can attend the funeral service?

Following the latest government guidance, there is now a maximum number of 30 people who are permitted to attend a funeral service.  Our funeral team will be able to confirm if your chosen service location has a capacity for fewer than 30 people and will be able to guide you on how many family members and friends may attend.

Families must continue to follow the current government guidance on social distancing, and everyone attending should follow the designated seating plans or accept guidance from the service location team to ensure that this distancing is maintained during the COVID-19 period.  We ask that each person wears a face covering before entering the service location, unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons.

Many crematoria and places of worship have been actively limiting the number of mourners allowed at each funeral service. Although the government now permits a maximum of 30 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.

Watch our short video on how attending a funeral has changed.

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

No. Unfortunately, this won’t be possible.

If your chosen service location has decided to lower the 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 permitted to attend.

Who can attend the funeral service?

There is a maximum number of 30 mourners who are permitted to attend a funeral service.  Your funeral arranger will be able to confirm this for you, based on the capacity at your chosen service location. 

You cannot attend if you are in an at-risk group, or if you are self-isolating. We ask that each person wears a face covering before entering the service location unless you are exempt from this request for health or religious reasons.  Where a family and social circle contains more than the maximum number of 30 people who are permitted to attend, you can limit this to the following family relationships:

  • Husband / Wife / Partner
  • Parents / Carers
  • Grandparents
  • Brothers / Sisters
  • Children

Not every family unit looks the same, so these are guidelines. You should agree attendance in advance as to which family members and friends will attend. Your chosen service location may offer capacity for fewer than 30 people, but our colleagues will know this information when you discuss the funeral arrangements prior to the service.

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

Families must follow the current Government guidance on social distancing, and everyone attending should maintain the expected distance from one another, whilst the Coronavirus continues to affect us.  We ask 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. 

We know that it is natural to hug or shake hands at a family gathering, but while the coronavirus affects day to day life, we ask that you do not hug or shake hands.  A smile or a nod to one another will still be meaningful and this supports social distancing.

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.

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.  There is a maximum of 30 mourners who are permitted to attend a funeral service, so that current social distancing measures can be supported. 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.

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.

Can you help me to plan and organise a memorial service at a later date?

Yes, of course.

We want to help you celebrate the life of your loved one. Please let us know when we make the funeral arrangements if you’d like us to support you with a memorial service when it becomes possible for these events to take place without the restrictions that currently apply.

Once we can hold a memorial service for your loved one, we will get in touch to help you plan a celebration of your loved one’s life and to involve those who were unable to attend the funeral and make them feel part of the service.

Watch our short video on how we can help with a fitting tribute.


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, but there may be some services we are unable to offer.  For example, in the current circumstances we are not able to offer church services in every location and 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


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 over the telephone, by email or by post. Some of our funeral homes can offer meetings via FaceTime or Skype as well.

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 from the same household. 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 all practising the Government guidance on social distancing, and we need you to do the same if we have asked 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?



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