How the pandemic has affected the funeral arrangements
Arranging the Funeral
Our offices are open by appointment for meetings. Home visits can be organised, though you may prefer to chat over the phone or by Zoom/Facetime etc. If necessary we can help you arrange the whole funeral without face to face contact.
Viewing your loved one
Following advice from the National Association of Funeral Directors, we are allowing viewing of the deceased including those who have had exposure to Covid. In order to minimise risk to our staff, embalming will be suspended until further notice. Viewings are strictly by appointment and limited to a maximum of 2 members from the same household at a time. Masks should be warn in accordance with government legislation and care taken to sanitise your hands before and after the viewing.
How many are allowed at the funeral?
Government guidance changed frequently in the early stages of the pandemic but seems to have settled for now on a limit of 30. Each different Crematorium/Cemetery set their own rules based on risk assessments of their ability to safely accommodate socially distanced mourners.
Vale Royal Creamtorium
A strict maximum of 30 mourners inside the chapel. Friends are discouraged from standing outside the chapel during the service are not be able to listen to the service.
Birches Park Crematorium
A strict maximum of 30 mourners inside the chapel. Friends can stand outside and listen to the service when socially distanced.
A strict maximum of 20 mourners inside the chapel. Friends are not permitted to gather outside the chapel are not be able to listen to the service.
Walton Lea Crematorium
A strict maximum of 18 mourners inside the chapel, 8 people standing in the entrance foyer and another 4 can listen standing outside.
A strict maximum of 29 mourners inside the chapel. Friends are not permitted to gather outside the chapel are not be able to listen to the service.
Most churches rely on volunteers to clean and sanitise which enables them to open. In many cases the volunteers are elderly and therefore shielding. The majority of local churches are still able to operate but where burial is required when the church is closed, a graveside service can be arranged.
Generally cemeteries are allowing a maximum of 30 mourners at the graveside within household bubbles. Bubbles should be socially distanced and additional friends can attend at a distance, though very large nunbers are discouraged.
The maximum capacity of the crematorium only applies if mourners sit in the configured seating. In some cases it may not be possible to sit socially distant from other attendees which may affect your decision to attend.
What else has changed?
Due to the limited numbers of attendees at funeral services, online webcasting is proving invaluable. Most of the crematoria have this facility (Altrincham Crem's webcast facility is unrealiable) and can provide a recording of the service afterwards. Some Churches have live streaming capabilities also, usually via YouTube. Unfortunately not every venue has this technology so this is a major consideration when choosing the location of the funeral.
Altrincham and Macclesfield Crems have limited chapel time to 20 minutes (including entry and exit)
Vale Royal & Birches Park are still allowing 45 minutes (including entry and exit)
Longer timeslots and double bookings can be made for additional cost.
Altrincham crematorium won't allow flowers inside the chapel. Combine this with limited service time, unreliable webcast facility and a maximum of 20 mourners, you may prefer the flexibility of other venues.
None of the Churches/ Crems allow singing though recorded choral music can be played.
Catering is now limited to a maximum of 6 people who must all be from the same household/support bubble.
Sadly we have taken the decision not to record names of mourners at funerals to minimise risk. We shall reinstate this facility as soon as is safe.
We encourage donations to be made online through our tributes section or over the phone through our office.
We are still able to use our limousines as we've had a transparent partition added to separate the driver from the passengers. The capacity is now limited to 6 seats and those travelling should be from the same household/support bubble.
As we print service sheets ourselves, we're still able to supply them during the lockdown. We're happy to print extras so that service sheets can later be sent to those who could not attend.
Registration of the death
The pandemic has forced the government to streamiline the registration process bringing it into the 21st century. Now the Doctor responsible for the certification of the death will email documents directly to the registrar in question. The family just need to call the registrar for an appointment to register the death over the phone. The registrar will also take payment for death certificates and send them in the post.
"Our support and attention to detail is why the communities trust us and have done for generations."