Information dated 16th March 2020
As the world faces the threat of a coronavirus epidemic. Jennifer Ashe & Son have been exploring the possible impacts on funerals for the coming weeks and months ahead.
If you are feeling unwell and feel you may pose a risk by attending a funeral, we urge you to follow the NHS guidelines.
We would like to assure the families and friends of loved ones entrusted into our care that our absolute priority throughout these uncertain times will be to maintain the same dedicated level of service with the minimum of disruption possible, whilst following the guidelines set out to us in order to reduce risk to the families we care for and the staff in our branches, with this in mind we may need to adapt a range of infection control options in line with the latest advice given by Public Health England.
We will liaise with third party support, such as local crematoria and burial grounds, to ensure we comply with their coronavirus procedures.
As such, if we find ourselves in a position of increased risk to health, and at risk of furthering the spread of coronavirus, it is possible that we may need to take the following actions:
- Funeral arrangements being made entirely over the phone, with a visit to a controlled area of our office for form signing with limited face-to-face contact. We will not be able to conduct arrangements at clients’ homes or other venues.
- Services at places of worship could be cancelled. In such circumstances, we would be happy to arrange a memorial or thanksgiving service at a church or another venue at a later date, when the risk has passed.
- Services at any venue could be cancelled. This could result in funeral services at crematoria being ‘live-streamed’ via the internet. We would provide advice aimed at ensuring everyone who needs to view the service is able to do so. Our staff may also be required to wait outside any chapel or building during services, whilst remaining on hand to offer assistance in line with official guidance.
- Service times at crematoria could be adjusted and/or reduced to allow for increased demand for services.
- Limousine travel could be cancelled. This could result in the family of the deceased and mourners making their own way to the place of the funeral.
- Staff sharing. In the event of widespread staff illness, we have a contingency plan in place with other local family-run and well-respected funeral directors to share personnel if required. Rest assured you will still see the same high standards of care and professionalism from all of our partner organisations.
- Viewings. We would protect our clients and staff by restricting viewings. However, we would do our best to enable clients to sit with the coffin during this period.
- We would be unable to conduct any ‘into church’ provision or ‘into house’ during this period.
- The funeral director and staff would not remain in a chapel or other venue during the service. They will remain close by, outside, ready to assist you when required.
- Pre- and post-funeral gatherings at a wake venue may have to be cancelled.
- In the case of Coronavirus related deaths, we may have to arrange a prompt funeral to prevent unnecessary storage and handling of the deceased.
- We may not be offering our hygienic treatment (embalming) during this period.
- Outside organisations will impose rules and restrictions – we will adapt our working practices to follow these.
- We may not be able to fulfil floral tribute orders in full, if our florists are unable to source flowers due national border closures.
As news and updates on the virus are changing by the hour we will endeavour to update this information in line with the most up to date information available from Public Health England