Changes to funeral and cremation services
Funerals and cremations can still go ahead as planned but we have introduced some new arrangements, which reflect Government guidance and are intended to keep people safe.
If you are organising a funeral, please be aware of the arrangements currently in place.
- The number of people who can attend a funeral ceremony at our crematoria or graveside is currently limited to 15. We have been reviewing this in line with government guidance to ensure we can safely accommodate attendees at our venues and from Wednesday 19 May, the maximum number of people allowed to attend a funeral at one of our crematoria is 24 and a maximum of 40 people can attend a service at our cemeteries. This limit on numbers has been put in place having carried out risk assessments to ensure that we can safely accommodate attendees within our venues with social distancing measures and to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19. Gatherings outside of our crematoria buildings during the service are not permitted.
- Our Book of Remembrance buildings at Mountsett and Durham crematoria will also reopen on Wednesday 19 May. The buildings will be open Monday to Friday from 9am to 12.30pm and 1pm to 4pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 12pm. To ensure social distancing, only one person or a single household will be able to access the building at one time.
- If the funeral takes place at a church, depending on the size of the church, up to 30 people can currently attend. From Monday 17 May, there will be no limit to the number of people who can attend a church service as long as social distancing measures can be accommodated safely. Should a church need to establish a limit on numbers, a funeral director should be able to advise you of exact numbers, but it is the responsibility of the organiser to ensure that attendees do not exceed this limit. If the church service is followed by a cremation, then the organiser will need to consider any limit on numbers set by the crematorium.
- You must wear a face covering unless you have a valid medical exemption.
- Alongside the funeral director, chapel attendant funeral staff, you may ask for a celebrant of your choice to attend.
- We will provide web casts at a charge to allow family members to watch services provided that they are ordered with your funeral director 48 hours in advance of the service. A download link will be made available for anyone requesting a web cast, but this may take up to 3 weeks to arrive.
When attending funerals, we ask that you and those attending with you:
- follow advice on social distancing during the service and when travelling to and from the funeral gathering
- do not attend a funeral if you or they are unwell with symptoms of Coronavirus, have been instructed by NHS test and trace to self-isolate or have tested positive for Covid-19. If you or they are self-isolating and / or displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, you may only attend the funeral of a close family member and you would need to notify the funeral director or those arranging the funeral so arrangements can be made. We would advise that anyone self-isolating and / or displaying symptoms consider paying their respects in alternative ways such as a web cast. We understand and respect if you wish to attend a funeral of a close relative in these circumstances. However, we would be grateful if you would work with your funeral director so that we can minimise the risk of spreading the virus and help keep everyone safe.
- avoid any direct face-to-face or physical contact, unless you have been living as part of the same household
- follow national advice on hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infection before and after the service
- avoid singing, shouting, chanting or raising your voice due to the associated increase in risk of transmission
As well as following the above guidance, to reduce the risk of infection we ask that you:
- advise other attendees if there is a clinically vulnerable person attending and to be respectful of the vulnerable person's need to avoid close contact at any point.
- reiterate the need to stay at home if they are unwell or are self-isolating. If they are displaying symptoms and / or self-isolating and wish to attend the funeral of a close family member, they should notify you and other attendees so arrangements can be made to reduce the risk of spread and to help keep everyone safe.
- advise people to travel to the venue via the safest route possible, preferably by car by themselves or with someone from their household.
- ensure that people who are in a clinically vulnerable group do not attend the same ceremony as people who are in household isolation