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Coronavirus: advice and guidance on funerals

Andrew Gilbert

Andrew Gilbert

Posted on 24 March 2020

Allerdale Borough Council’s Bereavement Services has issued guidance on funeral services which takes into account the government's advice regarding coronavirus. 

The government has introduced stricter measures on social distancing and what activities are allowed to continue. Funerals can continue to go ahead, however the advice is that only immediate family members should attend.   

Other measures the council has introduced include:  

  • Family members will be contacted before the funeral usually by the funeral director, to establish if anyone is suffering from the symptoms of coronavirus or are self-isolating. Contact is likely to be made by phone to reduce the risk of infection.  
  • The council kindly asks that anyone who is showing symptoms or is self-isolating, should avoid attending the funeral. Whilst the council recognises this may be upsetting, it is to reduce the risk of infection to others. Older people, those with medical conditions or pregnant women, are also recommended to not attend funerals at this time.  
  • Families may want to consider an outdoor service at the graveside. This will reduce the risk of infection. 
  • Officers will keep areas as clean as possible. However, some simple steps, such as an online donation page, rather than a charity donation box, can reduce the risk of infection. 
  • The council is also discouraging hand shaking between ministers, celebrants, funeral directors and mourners in line with government advice.  
  • Mourners are also asked to observe guidance around social distancing and remain at least 2m apart.  

Cllr Tony Markley, Executive member with responsibility for Environmental Services, said: “We all recognise that dealing with a bereavement is a difficult period in anyone’s life, and that the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus is only adding to that stress. Our bereavement services team work really hard with family members to give them all the help they need, and we have tried to make these changes as limited as possible. We kindly ask that people understand that these measures are all designed to help prevent the spread of infection and for the health and wellbeing of all. I’d also like to thank celebrants, ministers, funeral directors and family members who have worked with us so far.”    

These measures are backed by advice from the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management.