Essex is now a Tier 4 area, with so many changes happening in our everyday lives it is difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction and where to turn to for guidance, especially if you have lost someone dear to you. We hope to answer some of the more commonly asked questions and dispel some of the myths regarding funerals in these challenging times.
Our offices remain open but please ensure that you have a pre-arranged appointment with us before attending so that we can maintain everyone’s safety and socially-distance. If you need to travel to make funeral arrangements or attend a funeral this is classed as ‘essential travel’ under the current regulations. Alternatively we can make arrangements over the phone or by video conference if you prefer.
Updated 20th December 2020 – Tier 4
Can I still have a funeral service?
The simple answer to this is yes, although you will be limited on how many people can attend the service, at Southend and Basildon Crematoria, this limit is currently 30. Our local crematoria offer a webcasting service which allows other friends and family to watch the service live if you request this to happen. All churches are able to hold funeral services with a maximum of 30 people in attendance (the minister and funeral directors staff are not included in the ’30’). If you have any particular questions regarding a service venue, please call us, our advice is always freely given. Linked memorial services can have a maximum attendance of 6 people, an example of a ‘linked’ ceremony would be an ashes interment. A burial following on from a funeral service is seem as part of the funeral service and therefore 30 people can attend.
Can I travel from a Tier 1,2 or 3 area into a Tier 4 area to attend a funeral?
Current guidance allows family members to travel from lower Tier areas to attend a funeral, however when in a Tier 4 area you must abide by the Tier 4 rules. This will limit you from meeting inside or gathering at a home address and you should not stay overnight in a Tier 4 area. It is recommended that wherever possible that those in lower Tier areas should avoid travel to Tier 4 areas and it may be advisable to attend the funeral remotely.
When do I need to wear a face covering?
To comply with current government guidance you will need to wear a face covering when attending any of our offices for any reason. You will need to wear a face covering when travelling in our limousines. You will also need to wear a face covering if you are inside at the service venue for the funeral, i.e. in the chapel at the crematorium, all people attending the funeral must adhere to social distancing measures. You must not visit our offices if you or a relative within your support bubble is showing signs of Coronavirus, we are able to arrange the funeral remotely.
Can I see my relative in the Chapel of Rest?
Yes, we have closely followed the advice from Public Health England and they have not restricted relatives from visiting the Chapel of Rest, even if your relative has passed away of the coronavirus. We believe that a last goodbye is so important to families, especially during this time when many are unable to visit their loved ones before they pass away due to restrictions at Hospitals and Nursing Homes. Our professional staff work safely and are provided with the recommended PPE, meaning that we are able to care for your loved no matter the circumstances that led to their passing. For your safety and that of our dedicated colleagues, we will ask your permission to carry out a procedure called embalming, which will ensure that your loved one continues to rest peacefully whilst in our care. You can even supply a favorite outfit for your relative to be dressed in or if you prefer, we can supply a suitable gown for them. Our only restriction is that we request that only 2 family members at a time attend the Chapel of Rest but we will work with you to ensure that everyone who wishes to visit is able to.
Can I still have a Burial if my relative has died of Coronavirus?
Yes, there are no restrictions on having someone who has died of Coronavirus buried in a Cemetery or Churchyard. If the burial is to take place in a Churchyard you may have to have a graveside service as some churches are closed for funerals. This does not mean that the service cannot be personal and a reflection of the individual. We will work closely with you to ensure that as much as possible, the service is a celebration of a life well lived.
Are we able to help with carrying the coffin?
At present family members are discouraged from helping with the carrying of the coffin due to the restrictions put in place. However we will always, unless unsafe to do so, bear the coffin on shoulders as is traditional, and will supply a minimum of four bearers to facilitate this. We do not use a trolley to carry the coffin at the crematorium.
Can I have a Limousine to follow the Hearse?
We are be able to offer a full Limousine service but those travelling in the Limousine must be from the same household and must not show signs of coronavirus. If you have any questions regarding the provision of Limousines please contact us.
Am I allowed to have flowers at the funeral?
We are living in dark times and a splash of color is very welcome at any occasion. If you would like flowers to adorn the coffin these can be delivered to the office that is looking after the funeral arrangements and we will take them to the service venue. We would respectfully ask that the number of tributes are limited as we are restricted for space within our Hearses, if you would like more advice on this, please speak to your funeral arranger.
Will you collect donations at the funeral?
I am sure that you are aware that wherever possible the use of cash is being avoided and this is also true for the collection of donations. We will set-up and on-line obituary page and donations page and this is included as part of our services to you. The page will allow friends and family to donate directly to your chosen charity as well as giving them an opportunity to leave a message of support and condolence or even light a ‘virtual’ candle in your loved ones memory.
How do I arrange the Funeral?
In all instances, if a relative has passed away, whether at home, in a nursing home, hospital or other location, call us, we are available 24hrs a day and will be able to offer you advice and guidance immediately. We will then be able to guide you through the process of arranging the funeral, ensuring that the wishes of your loved one and that of the family are taken into consideration in these changing times. For your reassurance and if you prefer, many of the arrangements can be discussed and finalised over the telephone and we can then gain relevant signatures by visiting you or you can pop to one of our local office.
Can I personalize the funeral service?
Yes, there are many ways that you can add individual touches to the service, from the small, such as passing a favorite location on the way to your service venue to the magnificent spectacle of a Black Carriage and Horses to carry your loved one on their final journey. Whatever your wishes, please discuss them with us as we are here to help and advise you so you have a fitting tribute to your loved one.
Can I hold a memorial service at a later date?
Many families are planning to hold memorial services later in the year once the current crisis has eased, and as part of our on-going commitment to you, we will try to help you any way we can. Many clergy, officiants and funeral celebrants have contacted us, offering to hold memorial services for families and with our extensive local knowledge, we will be able to help you find a suitable venue to hold the memorial service. If you have had an Order of Service for the funeral service, we will be able to reproduce and update this to provide a link between both services.
If you have any questions regarding the current guidance surrounding funeral services that are not answered here, please feel free to call us. We will always try to help you and provide honest practical guidance, our care-line is manned 24 hrs a day, 01702 558717 for all enquires.