WITH the government announcing new restrictions in the UK and many areas being placed in local lockdowns, funerals are having to adapt again.
Since the initial lockdown period, funerals have continued to go ahead, even during the times when restrictions were at their tightest. This will not change in the months to come.
Due to continuing changes, only one in 10 people (12%) are confident they know exactly what the current restrictions mean for organising a funeral. During this unprecedented period of uncertainty it’s important that people who are organising a funeral in Bradford know exactly what kind of service they can arrange for their loved one.
Craig Greenwood, Senior Funeral Director from D Walsh & Son in Bradford and Arthur B Baxter Funeral Directors in Bingley (part of the funeral company Dignity), gives a guide to the changes:
How funerals have changed
Over the past three months funeral directors have been continually adapting the service we offer to ensure we’re meeting changing government guidance, while still giving families a respectful funeral for their loved one.
The biggest change has been in the number of people who can attend. At the start of the lockdown most funerals were restricted to very small numbers of people.
However, more and more crematoriums and other funeral venues have adapted their spaces to increase the number of people who can attend while maintaining social distancing.
This means there is quite a lot of variation at a local level. Your funeral director will be able to advise you on what your options are, but at Scholemoor and Nab Wood crematoriums in Bradford, 10 people can attend a service inside and 10 people can attend a service outside.
We are also still able to provide many of the most important elements of a funeral. Your loved one can be buried or cremated. We are able to arrange flowers and you can have readings, music and a hearse.
The government has now made it compulsory, with some exemptions, to wear face coverings when visiting a funeral director in a branch, or attending services in crematoriums, chapels and churches.
All of our colleagues are supplied with face coverings too, and it is recommended that they wear them at all times when interacting with visitors. Face coverings do not replace the need for social distancing however, and our teams will continue to keep a safe distance.
Getting to the funeral
We are really happy to say at D Walsh & Son in Bradford and Arthur B Baxter Funeral Directors in Bingley we are now able to provide a limousine service.
To protect both our employees and our clients we have installed a perspex partition between the chauffeur and passengers to provide a safe environment. Each limousine is available for family members from the same household with a maximum of six people per vehicle.
We know how important this service is to many families, so we’ve worked quickly to adapt our limousines so that we can offer it again.
Religious venues are open again
One of the toughest challenges during the lockdown period has been that most religious venues have been closed. However, in recent weeks many religious venues have begun to reopen and The Church of England is once again allowing funerals in its churches.
Of course, due to social distancing rules, there may still be a limit of attendees as well as other restrictions, but you can rely on your funeral director to find out what they are for you.
New ways to participate in funerals
Even with relaxations to restrictions around social distancing it will still be important for the most vulnerable to stay away from gatherings of people if they can.
We have been thinking of other ways for people to participate in funerals in their own home. For example, sharing orders of service, readings and hymns with people who are unable to attend so that they know when, where and how the service will take place and can take a moment at home to remember the deceased.
We have started seeing people face to face at some of our branches. However, we still encourage people to do as much as they can over the phone.
At D Walsh & Son in Bradford and Arthur B Baxter Funeral Directors in Bingley we are able to see two family members at a time in branch, please ring ahead to make an appointment.
If you have questions you want to ask out of hours you can visit the Dignity website where we have a number of FAQs or call our 24 hour client service centre: 0800 456 1047.
If you have been affected by Covid-19 or are self-isolating we have procedures that will allow us to arrange a funeral with you, but please call or email to contact us.
What the future holds
Funerals have changed a lot over the past few months and these changes aren’t over yet. Relaxation of social distancing guidelines does not necessarily mean all businesses and industries will relax their regulations.
Safety is the top priority at D Walsh & Son in Bradford and Arthur B Baxter Funeral Directors in Bingley, which is why the branch will continue to monitor rules around social distancing to make decisions based on what is best for the local community.
For the safety of our employees and the families we serve, funerals may not return to how we knew them before for a while.
However, funeral directors across Bradford will continue to work tirelessly to provide the best possible service for families, ensuring loved ones are given the respect they deserve.