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Government urged to ban funerals during coronavirus outbreak as pressure mounts on undertakers

12th May 2020

Click here to read the full story from the Telegraph.co.uk

By Jaymi McCann 29 March 2020 • 11:21pm


Funeral directors are facing strain on deciding how many people can attend services, which has left immediate family members excluded.

THE government should ban funerals during the coronavirus pandemic because of mounting pressure on undertakers to adhere to strict limits on the number of attendees, which has resulted in the exclusion of grandchildren, experts said.

The Good Funeral Guide (GFG) has highlighted the strain being placed on individuals including funeral directors and crematorium workers, who have been given “impossible decisions to make”.

Last week the government prohibited large gatherings like weddings or baptisms, but not funerals, leaving decisions over how many people can attend with individual crematoria.

Fran Hall, CEO of the not-for-profit organisation, said the lack of clear direction is “causing untold anguish”.

She added: “The choice of who can and cannot attend a funeral shouldn’t be on the individual funeral director or the celebrant. It is unbearable and unfair for everyone.

“No-one can enforce these rules, so we are asking individuals to police the situation. If 10 people are allowed in and 50 turn up what happens then?

“There is just exhaustion and emotional overload in the industry, as they are having to sit with families and explain that you can’t have all the grandchildren, only a few immediate family but cannot get close enough to comfort them.

“If there were directives that funerals should not be attended by anyone it would be fairer and safer for everyone. “It seems brutal, but what people are getting now is half a funeral. If we are approaching a situation where the number of deaths escalates we will have to ban them.

“If directives were given from government everybody would be in the same boat and can organise something more special in the future.”

A group of funeral industry organisations issued guidance in the wake of Boris Johnson’s announcement last week. It said that only spouses, parents, siblings and children are immediate family, but went on to clarify that if numbers allow grandchildren should be allowed to attend.

Families whose grandchildren could not attend their beloved grandparent’s funeral have told how “heartbreaking” the situation is for everyone involved.

Funeral professionals have backed the GFG, saying the pressure they are under is making their job impossible and that their safety is at risk.

Jo Williamson, of Albany Funerals in Kent, said: “This week I had a funeral where the family were going to have 300 but we ended up with six.

“The grandchildren couldn’t go, it was absolutely heart breaking to have to have that discussion with them.

“It goes against every bone in your body not to comfort someone in their time of grief. I have been close to tears every day, I haven’t slept a full night in two weeks.

“The guidance about safety around the body of someone who has has coronavirus keeps changing, PPE is getting harder to find and we will run out.

“I am having to decide when to wear PPE and when not to. “We are at our wits end and know it is going to get worse.”

The Telegraph has contacted the Cabinet Office for a response.



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2 weeks ago

Albany Funerals

This is a lovely article showing that the clergy are also adapting positively and creatively to this terrible situation. We need to change our rituals to stay safe but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are any less healing. Those who are willing to accept some changes are able to continue to hold truly personal and meaningful funeral ceremonies. We are working with each family individually to find new ways of doing things to bring them comfort in their unique situation. It can be done ♥️

https://thetimes.co.uk/article/b41ddae2-96bb-11ea-97b5-8f15973668de/…
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3 weeks ago

Albany Funerals

#livinglight
For all those who have died during the pandemic ♥️
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3 weeks ago

Albany Funerals

Grief during coronavirus - lockdown is particularly tough when you're grieving. Being surrounded by family and friends is so vital when you've lost someone you love. Hopefully you are still able to stay connected to others in some way, If you are struggling - some telephone/video grief counselling might help. It's difficult to 'unload' dark feelings onto family and friends, particularly those who might also be grieving, but it does really help to talk.
https://www.griefchat.co.uk/
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3 weeks ago

Albany Funerals

4 weeks ago

Albany Funerals

My thoughts on funerals through coronavirus on NBC. We are often told that we only have once chance to say goodbye to and honour our loved ones.... I think we can look at this differently, and learn to hold rituals in other ways than we are used to, particularly during these times. They can still be healing. ... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago

Albany Funerals

‘That thing you’re feeling is called grief’...This is one of the wisest things I’ve heard in a while. Thank you Hugh
at GK Church for your kindness, and your comforting, and incredibly insightful words through such turbulent times. 🌈
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4 weeks ago

Albany Funerals

Another beautiful idea bringing people comfort when they cannot come together in their grief during the Covid pandemic. ♥️ ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Albany Funerals
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