Author: Middleton and Wood

Supporting Families during COVID19

Following the introduction of yesterday’s national four-week lockdown in England, updated guidance has now been published in relation to funerals. The guidance emphasises the following measures:

  • a limit of 30 people attending a funeral – anyone working is not included in this number
  • a limit of 15 people attending a linked religious, belief-based or ceremonial event in a Covid-19 secure venue or public outdoor place – anyone working is not included in this number (Wakes will be permitted with up to 15 attendees as they are included within the definition of linked events)

During these unprecedented times, we are fully aware that families maybe unsure on what type of funeral they can arrange for their loved one.  We are limited to the number of mourners that can attend either a burial or cremation and are here to guide and support you at all times.  Not all Churches are open currently but we are working with local churches to understand what options are available to you and we will guide you accordingly.

Below we have put together the latest information and restrictions that our local crematoria and authorities have set. We are assisting and guiding our families as to the options available to them such as live streaming a service to watch online and the use of a videographer and will be happy to help and guide you as to the most suitable options.

Due to government guidelines we are doing all we can to adhere to the social distancing regulations.  We are trying to limit the footfall of the general public into our funeral home and we are kindly asking for people to make an appointment for face to face meets with a maximum of 2 people from the same household to attend.  You will be required to wear a face covering whilst on our premises and scan the government QR Track & Trace on entering our building.

If you request to hire a private limousine for your loved ones funeral we can accommodate 6 family members from the same house hold to travel in the vehicle but all family members will be required to wear a face covering whilst in the limousine.

Local Crematoria guidelines for the numbers of mourners that can attend a funeral are as follows:

Lichfield & District Crematorium – Maximum number of mourners = 30 (27 seated in the chapel, 3 outside) 

Streetly Crematorium (East Chapel) – Maximum number of mourners = 25 (10 seated in the chapel, 15 outside)

Streetly Crematorium (West Chapel) – Maximum number of mourners = 30 (15 seated inside, 15 outside)

Stafford Crematorium – Maximum number of mourners = 30 seated in the chapel. 

Sutton Coldfield Crematorium – Maximum number of mourners = 30 seated in the chapel. 

Please be aware that the Crematoria are promoting social distancing and arranging the seats 1 meter apart, within the chapel.  If families are in the same household or have formed a bubble we will assist you on the day to allow seating to be arranged together.

We are truly sorry to have to inform the bereaved families of these new restrictions, which we understand will be extremely upsetting to learn, however it is important that we adhere to all government guidelines to ensure the safety of our families, staff and general public

We are advising families to consider having a Memorial Service at a later date, when the country is back to some sort of normality and we can then assist our clients in organising a fitting tribute, where all can attend, pay tribute and remember their loved ones in a way that they deserve.

For additional clarification, here are the recommended guidelines set by our national governing body, The NAFD (National Association of Funeral Directors):

SOCIAL DISTANCING AND FUNERALS

WE’VE CREATED SOME GUIDANCE YOU CAN SHARE WITH FAMILIES

There is currently no government guidance preventing funeral services from taking place and funeral directors are working hard to support bereaved families at this very difficult time. However, all funeral services that do take place MUST respect current Government requests for social distancing and the protection of high-risk groups.

We are advising funeral directors to work closely with families to work out how best they can hold a funeral, in line with Government guidance, together with any local requirements and restrictions.

This means:

  • Arranging funerals over the phone or via other electronic means, where possible. If a funeral must be arranged in person, you should respect the social distancing guidance – keep two metres apart, wash hands frequently, and cough or sneeze into a tissue/crook of your elbow and advise the family to limit the number of people attending in person to arrange the funeral You should not arrange a funeral in person if anyone involved has symptoms or should be self-isolating, in accordance with government advice. It is vital that we do all we can to reduce the spread of the virus and that funeral service employees (who are key workers) can remain healthy and able to continue supporting bereaved families.
  • Limit the numbers attending the funeral service as much as possible, in line with Government advice on social distancing. We are already aware that certain crematoria and churches have now set strict limits on the numbers of mourners that may attend funerals, but these vary across the UK and by type of venue, so it is important that you check what restrictions will apply to you.
  • This also means thinking about who will attend and ensuring those from at-risk groups (e.g. pregnant women or those with underlying health conditions) are not put at greater risk by attending.
  • Consider holding the funeral service outdoors as this will reduce the risk of the virus spreading between mourners but as the disease is airborne, it is still important to follow social distancing guideline i.e. two metres apart.
  • Limit the use of limousines to only carrying those living in the same household (in line with social distancing guidance) – and ensure the driver is able to abide by them too keeping glass screens up or limiting the number travelling to ensure they can sit as far back as possible.
  • Restrict physical attendance at the funeral service to as few people as possible. Consider other options such as organising a celebration of life or memorial service at a later date, or webcasting/live streaming the funeral service (using professional or personal devices), enabling other mourners to still participate without putting themselves and others at risk of harm.
  • Please don’t publicly advertise the funeral details to reduce the risk of other, well-meaning mourners arriving unexpectedly. They may be turned away at the door, which could be distressing for them and the bereaved family. It will also place funeral key workers at unnecessary risk of harm.
  • During the service, remain two metres apart from anyone not living in your household at all times. Refrain from making physical contact with anyone outside of your household.
  • All charitable collections should be done online. We can offer support with online memorials.

We understand this advice may be very difficult for families, but it is vitally important we respect Government guidance for social distancing – to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  The full guidelines can be found by clicking this link here

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to call us on 01543 677494

Established in 1997, Middleton & Wood Funeral Directors are an independent third generation family business who pride ourselves on giving each funeral our personal touch.

We are a family funeral directors based in Burntwood serving Lichfield, Fradley, Yoxall, Handsacre, Longdon, Kings Bromley and Hamstall Ridware.

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