Updated : 10th May 2020
**Prime Minister's Statement (10th May 2020) ~ Following on from the Prime Minister's statement this evening there is no suggestion that any changes at present which will result in a relaxation of restrictions on funeral services. All measures as outlined below will therefore remain in force until further notice.**
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a major impact on the way in which we all live and work and is likely to do for some time to come. Unfortunately, these changes also extend to funeral services. It is with great sadness that we must implement these measures but at times such as these we must all act responsibly to ensure that every possible precaution is taken to reduce the spread of infection. These measures are essential to protect not only you and your family but also our staff, without whom no funerals services would take place.
We would strongly urge you that in the event of you or members of your family developing symptoms of Coronavirus (continuous cough, high temperature,) that the government advice is followed immediately - isolation for 14 days and avoid all contact with others. Under these circumstances an infected person(s) should never attend a funeral service as this is likely to result in others becoming ill, possibly with fatal consequences. Some crematoriums are able to 'live stream' the service via the internet but if all else fails other family members could record the service on their phones for you in your absence.
In our efforts to protect everyone, we have implemented a range of infection control measures. This is in line with advice provided by Public Health England (PHE) as well as local councils and the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF,) our trade body.
In the event of changes to advice or if we find ourselves in a position of increased risk to health, we reserve the right to make further alterations to these precautionary measures:
- If your loved one has passed away at home, please contact us on 0121 557 1347 and if this is outside our normal working hours, please follow the instructions on the message. Please be aware that at this time staff will be attending wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (protective suits, face masks and gloves) regardless of the circumstances of the death. If you believe that the death is respiratory (breathing) related or has been confirmed as Coronavirus then please bring this to our attention when you first call.
- Funeral arrangements will be made entirely over the phone and we will where possible aim to deliver paperwork to you to be signed.
- Registration of the death will now be by phone. Always ask for a copy of the Death Certificate to be posted to you recorded delivery.
- Our offices are in 'lock down' so if you do need to come to see us, you must call first. We regret that we are unable to return cremated remains to you at this time and hope that you understand.
- To be granted entry into the building all visitors must come equipped with a face mask. A scarf or shawl can be used where no mask is available. This must be worn at all times.
- We are unable to provide limousines at present and are restricting our service to the use of hearse only. However, we are still able to meet at a local address with family cars following the hearse to the service location.
- We regret we will be unable to provide full hygienic preparation (embalming) at this time.
- To protect everyone concerned we will only be allowing one chapel visit per family at this time to those family members who have no need to self-isolate. Only 2 people will be allowed into our office at any one time. It is with deep regret however that if your loved one is suspected to have contracted the virus, preparation and viewing will not be possible.
- Services in church are not available at this time and services for burial must therefore take place at the graveside. Many Churches have said that they are prepared to offer Memorial services for loved ones at a future but unspecified date.
- Services at local Crematoriums and burial grounds are restricted in terms of the number of mourners that are allowed to attend as a result of further restrictions imposed from Tuesday 14th April. The same policy applies to all seven West Midlands Authorities. A maximum of 10 mourners will now only be allowed to attend cremation services at the crematoria and at graveside burials (up from 6 mourners as previously advised.) As a guide only immediate family members should be present up to the maximum number allowed.
- Please be aware that service times at crematoria could be adjusted and/or reduced to allow for increased demand for services in the weeks ahead.
- Gates will be locked at local crematoria and selected cemeteries and access will only be granted for funeral services taking place at that time.
- Councils have restricted the use of family bearers. The Funeral Director and staff must convey the coffin from the hearse to the chapel/grave before mourners can enter the chapel or assemble at the graveside.
- Funeral services in crematoria chapels must have curtains closed at committal.
- Witnessing of the coffin charge for cremation and the back-filling of graves by mourners is suspended at this time.
- Where further restrictions are imposed upon us we may be obliged to make alterations to funeral services including those that have already been arranged.
- Although our florist will do all they can to provide fresh floral tributes, this may not be possible if flowers can not be sourced. We have however made alternative arrangements for re-usable silk floral displays to be available in this eventuality.
We are truly sorry that we must impose these restrictions and hope that you understand.
If you have any further questions then please don't hesitate to call.