Updated : November 2021
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is continuing to have a major impact on the way in which we all live and work and is likely to do for some time to come. Unfortunately, these changes also extend to funeral services. It is with great sadness that we must implement these measures but at times such as these we must all act responsibly to ensure that every possible precaution is taken to reduce the spread of infection. These measures are essential to protect not only you and your family but also our staff, without whom no funerals services would take place. Despite the lifting of many of the restrictions that have been in place, we urge people to remain cautious, particularly in regard to the wearing of face masks in enclosed areas.
We would strongly urge you that in the event of you or members of your family developing symptoms of Coronavirus (continuous cough, high temperature,) that the government advice is followed immediately - isolation for the defined period of time and avoid all contact with others. Under these circumstances an infected person(s) should never attend a funeral service as this is likely to result in others becoming ill, possibly with fatal consequences. Some crematoriums are able to 'live stream' the service (Dudley, Sandwell & Wolverhampton) via the internet but if all else fails other family members could record the service on their phones for you in your absence.
In our efforts to protect everyone, we have implemented a range of infection control measures. This is in line with advice provided by Public Health England (PHE) as well as local councils and the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF,) our trade body.
The following changes will be implemented from 19th July 2021, however, In the event of changes to advice or if we find ourselves in a position of increased risk to health, we reserve the right to make further alterations to these precautionary measures:
- If your loved one has passed away at home, and you believe that their death is respiratory (breathing) related or has been confirmed as Coronavirus then please bring this to our attention when you first call.
- Funeral arrangements can be made at any of our offices by appointment (a maximum of 2 people), or if you prefer, over the phone or by Zoom/Teams (unlimited numbers). Where possible, once funeral arrangements have been discussed we will email paperwork to you to be electronically signed. This is both more efficient and safer for all concerned, as well as being better for the environment.
- Registration of the death will continue to be by phone, until we are notified otherwise. Always ask for a copy of the Death Certificate to be posted to you recorded delivery.
- If you wish to see us we would ask that you call in advance to arrange an appointment. We are now able to return Cremated Remains from our Tipton Office, again by appointment only. Please contact us should you wish to collect Cremated Remains of a loved one whose funeral service took place during the lockdown.
- Although face masks are nolonger required by law, we would encourage everyone entering the building to continue wearing a mask both for their own protection and that of our staff. Please be aware that if staff are required to self-isolate, funeral services may be affected. Wearing a mask continue to reduce this risk.
- Perspex screens are fitted to our limousines. Again, masks need not be worn where this is the consensus of all the passengers.
- We would continue to encourage where possible for appointments to the Chapel of Rest to be arranged on a day and time period which is convenient for all to attend. Only 3 people will be allowed into the Chapel at any one time.
- Any procedures followed in Churches will be set by the individual Minister and will be advised to families on a case-by-case basis. Many Churches have said that they are prepared to offer Memorial services for loved ones at a future but unspecified date.
- For funerals that took place during the height of the Pandemic, we are now able to arrange for interment of cremated remains. Please contact your Funeral Arranger who will guide you through the process.
- Please be aware that although restrictions are being lifted for now, the situation may change in the future and policies imposed upon us may be altered between the time that the funeral is arranged and the time that it takes place. Please be mindful that if there is a reaccurance of the virus locally then tighter restrictions may be reimposed.
DUDLEY COUNCIL (Policy change date : from 19th July 2021)
Gornal Wood & Stourbridge Crematoria - There will no longer be a limit on the number that can attend a funeral. However, mourners entering the Chapel must all be seated up to a capacity of 90 people. Any remaining mourners will be required to stand outside to listen to the service. It is strongly advised that mourners continue to wear face masks, to protect both themselves and others in attendance. Mourners will be allowed to sing, but Council hymn books will not be provided. A 'Track and Trace' form showing attendees at the funeral service must be completed by the Funeral Applicant and emailed directly to the council. Recording (webcasting) of the service to watch in real-time will continue to be offered as a free service on funerals taking place up to Friday, 20th August, after which recording will once again become chargeable.
- Dudley Cemeteries - There are no known restrictions on burials at this time.
- SANDWELL COUNCIL (Policy Change Date : 15th November 2021) - **UPDATED**
Sandwell Valley Crematorium - 120 mourners inside the Chapel.
Rowley Regis Crematorium (Powke Lane) - 80 mourners inside the Chapel.
Sandwell Cemeteries - No limit on mourners attending a burial inc. cremated remains interments.
For the safety of all, face coverings are requested be worn inside Crematorium chapels.
A 'Track and Trace' form showing attendees at the funeral service must be completed by the Funeral Applicant and emailed directly to the council.
Free recording (webcasting) of the funeral service will remain for the time being.
- WOLVERHAMPTON COUNCIL (policy Change Date : 19th July 2021)
Bushbury Crematorium (West Chapel) - 90 mourners inside the West Chapel, all must be seated
Bushbury Crematorium (East Chapel) - 77 mourners inside the East Chapel, all must be seated.
Where there is no seating available inside mourners can stand outside the chapels, although there are no speakers or video screens to watch. Families are advised however that live recording (webcasting) of the service remains free at this time.
'Track and Trace' forms will nolonger be required.
Wearing of face coverings is advisable and highly recommended
Families will be able to walk into the service following the coffin, and where disposable gloves are worn, be able to bear the coffin. Curtains can remain open at the end of the service. Items can be placed on the coffin at the beginning of the service.
Wolverhampton Cemeteries - No limit on mourners attending a burial inc. cremated remains interments. Lowering of the coffin must be done by the Funeral Director. Families will be allowed to carry out back filling of a grave, but must bring their own shovels if they wish to do so.
- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- Witnessing of the coffin charge for cremation and the back-filling of grave may still be restricted for certain Councils.
- Where further restrictions are imposed upon us we may be obliged to make alterations to funeral services including those that have already been arranged.
Although many of these restrictions are imposed upon us, and are beyond our control, we apologise if they unduly impact on the type of funeral service that you would want or indeed expect. We hope that you understand.
If you have any further questions then please don't hesitate to call.