During these challenging times, we have been faced with the startling reality of social distancing vs traditional funeral services.
The nature of our work, usually leads us to become intensely involved with families on a very real and emotional level. Through these unprecedented changes, simply giving someone a comforting hug or a reassuring handshake is no longer deemed as caring for their wellbeing. Social distancing has felt like we are steering a ship whilst tied to the mast!
However, during this period we have begun to see new and imaginative ways in which people come together to show care and solidarity. I am sure as time goes on, we will return to the personal touch that has become the trademark of our profession.
Important changes in the past couple of weeks have laid way for new approaches to funerals. Most notable is the strict limitation of attendance at services. It has been decided at our 2 local crematoriums that there shall be no more than 10 mourners in attendance. Many crematoriums up and down the country have begun to stop attended services all together, so for now we feel a little lucky.
Seating in services have been spread apart to adhere to the 2 metre rule for social distancing, trying as best as we can to protect one another.
To avoid potential contamination of surfaces, it is not allowed for those attending a funeral service to go upto and /or touch the coffin in the crematorium. As such the curtains (which have until now been a personal choice) will close to prevent the need to approach the coffin on leaving the chapel. Again this is something we find hard to see when families are robbed of these precious moments.
In preparation of an increase of services at Chanterlands Crematorium, Hull, East Yorkshire they have decided that service times will reduce from 1 hour to only 30 minutes. This will begin from April 27th. As yet however, there is no indication that service costs will reduce (as they have just increased by £39 this April to £799), so still plenty discussion to come we think.
We have not completely withdrawn our provision of Limousines, however we recommend that no more than 3 passengers per car should travel, and should come from the same household. We have isolated our driver compartment to avoid potential spread. Our drivers remain isolated in the vehicle at all times when working with families, our funeral directors will see families to and from the vehicles personally.
There have been some positive and sensible developments in the administration on funerals. Drs and Registrars can now email us the documentation we require, and allow families to register a death via telephone. Through the latest Corona Virus Bill passed a couple of weeks ago, the need for a 2nd Doctor to complete documentation for cremation was removed. As such there has been a small saving of £82 by not needing them.
We see the compromise and sacrifice families are having to make at this difficult time. As such we are reducing our professional fee further by £118, to aid the better affordability of our services.
We sincerely hope that everyone does their bit to adhere to social distancing as best as possible, to continue to show respect and consideration to others whilst protecting themselves and those around them.
From our family to yours, we hope you all stay as safe as you can and take care of each other. I am sure we will come through this very soon.