Covid guidelines have now relaxed considerably and we will continue to give you the current details below. We do ask that when visiting our offices, entering our limousines and before being led into the chapel that everyone continues to wear a mask as a funeral is still a relatively high risk environment for Covid.
Before giving the latest updates we would like to assure you that we are still available 24 hours a day to answer questions and support you if you are confused, worried or dealing with a bereavement. We are fully set up so that family or friends can arrange a funeral by phone or video chat with all paperwork sent immediately and signed electronically for your safety.
Last updated Friday 30th July
Directives and Guidelines
Many of the guidelines previously posted here are now redundant but we are still keeping a close eye on the Covid situation as we are starting to see new Covid deaths in the Southend area. Here is the current situation according to the latest guidelines:
- Funeral attendance is now being decided by individual crematoria according to safety guidelines. Currently the limit at Southend is 40 in the South Chapel and 100 in the West Chapel.
- It is still not possible for someone who is symptomatic to attend a funeral if one or more vulnerable people are in attendance.
- In order to facilitate current Track and Trace practices the Next of Kin or a nominated individual should keep a record of all mourners who attend a funeral as well as any individuals who travel in a limousine. This information should be kept for 21 days and then disposed of. We advise that you also register with NHS track and trace at the crematorium, the codes are available outside the chapels.
- When visiting our offices to do a funeral arrangement we request that masks are worn at all times. We work hard to keep our premises clean but we are still handling covid cases and it is important to take full precautions for everyone’s safety.
- If you are vulnerable or on lockdown or just want to be careful maintaining social distance we are very happy to do telephone and/or video arrangements. We are set up to do this quickly and efficiently and all paperwork can be sent to you and electronically signed immediately after the virtual meeting.
- We are still not able to offer open casket viewings in our Chapel of Rest for loved ones who have passed from, or tested positive for, the Coronavirus*. We are now providing closed casket viewings in these cases upon request. (Preparations for open casket viewing involves prolonged contact between staff and the deceased and we have been advised that it could present a hazard for both family and staff. We will be reviewing this and other identified risks as we move forward and will make viewings available as soon as we can do so safely.)
- *For those who’s passing is not related to the virus we are able to arrange viewings under carefully controlled conditions. Under present regulations embalming will be required for a viewing. Please contact us for more information regarding this.
- We are now able to take donations during the service, however the donations will be transferred into a sealed envelope and given to the Next of Kin after the service.
- Services in churches or other places of worship are now permitted, each church or place of worship will have its own regulations and restrictions in place.
- Your Celebrant or Minister will provide all service information and most are doing home arrangements as usual. Each individual will have their own safety procedures, for example some may prefer to meet in an open space such as a garden if possible.
- No hymn books will be laid out in the chapel to avoid contamination.
- Our current understanding is that Singing, chanting and instruments that require blowing are not allowed during the service, so unfortunately it is not possible to sing hymns during the service at present. We are awaiting updates from the crematoria with regard to this restriction.
- If you come into our office for any reason you will be asked to scan the QR code in the front office so that NHS Track and Trace can be activated for everyone’s safety.
- All local crematoria have the facility to provide webcasts of your service that will be streamed live and available afterwards.
Some changes have now been enacted into law concerning the process of registering a death and planning a funeral. Here are the ones that may be relevant to bereaved families:
- It is now possible to present documents electronically (that previously had to be presented physically) in order to certify the registration of a death
- It is no longer necessary to have a second confirmatory medical certificate in order for a cremation to take place. The direct result for those arranging a funeral is that there will be a £82 reduction in the funeral cost as well as an accelerated timeframe. (We have not been informed at this time whether this situation will remain the same as we move past the worst of the pandemic or if the requirement for 2 doctors’ certificates will be re-instated)
This is the current situation concerning funerals and we will keep this updated as often as required. These guidelines are clearly set in place to protect the health and wellbeing of all concerned. We are very sorry that this can severely limit the opportunity for family and friends to say farewell to a loved one and we assure you that we will do all we can to help minimise the disruption caused.
What to do in the event of a death
The situation concerning bringing your loved ones into our care will not be affected by the need to keep our staff as safe as possible. The procedures for collection of the deceased are still the same as normal and you can see clear information on who to call and when to call them here. Of course you can call us at any time on 01702 436000 for advice and help and an immediate response in the event of a death.
Non Covid deaths
When a death occurs at home or in a care home or hospice without knowledge of infection we cannot, unfortunately, be sure that no infection is present. For this reason our staff will take careful precautions in such a circumstance. We will have to treat each case as if infection might be present and take all reasonable precautions.
When death occurs with someone who is known to carry, or suspected to carry, the Covid 19 infection extra precautions will have to be taken. We will still come to your home to take your loved one into our care and we will still treat the deceased with full respect and dignity. We will, however, be required to enter the premises with great care in PPE clothing and we will follow strict safety guidelines at every stage. We are aware that this can seem quite intense and distressing at a time of deep personal loss and we apologise for this but we ask everyone to be understanding about the risks our staff are taking and the care we must provide to them as well as to the departed.
We take the health and safety of our staff and clients very seriously, but you should be assured that we will still treat the deceased with the same respect and care as always.
How to arrange a funeral
Bereaved in isolation
For those in self-isolation or Track and Trace imposed isolation we understand that making funeral arrangements can be daunting. Please contact us on 01702 436 000 if you need advice. We have set up our systems so that we can do all of the arrangements for you over the phone – or by video call – and handle all of the paperwork and signing electronically.
Most arrangements are now being done face to face, as usual, but if you wish to be careful we can do telephone or video arrangements at any time.
Watching the funeral from home
Local crematoria can set up live webcasts for funerals so that all family and friends are able to observe the funeral in real time.
As an independent family run funeral director we are dedicated to a high quality of service and care to our clients. Because of this we ask families to remain patient as we update our health and safety procedures and deal with the changing workload and issues caused by staff who have to self isolate.
Lastly we extend our personal sympathy to those experiencing bereavement and having to deal with all of the extra issues raised by the Coronavirus. Our commitment remains to serve our clients and our local community as best we can whilst adhering to guidelines and protecting our staff and clients to the best of our ability.