HOW THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) IS AFFECTING THE ATTENDANCE OF BURIALS AND CREMATIONS.
Attendance at a service, provides many people with comfort and any proposal to limit this important religious and non-religious occasion must be carefully considered.
During this extremely challenging time, the transmission of the coronavirus at funeral gatherings to the elderly, frail, those in vulnerable groups along with funeral directors and cemetery/crematorium staff, cannot be overlooked. Many people will be concerned about attending a funeral but will feel compelled to go.
The current advice from the Federation of Burial & Cremation Authorities (FBCA) and the Institute of Cemetery & Crematorium Management (ICCM) has been to adopt a risk-based approach and apply government advice. The Government has ordered the closure of places of worship except for funerals attended by immediate family. This will initially last for three weeks from 23rd March 2020 at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows that this is possible.
Therefore, in view of the advice already being given by the Government, the FBCA/ICCM has updated their advice to Burial and Cremation Authorities, such as the City of Ely Council.
In considering reducing the transmission of the coronavirus through gatherings at funeral services, attendance will be restricted so that a safe distance of a least 2 metres (3 steps) can be maintained between individuals. Only the following should attend:
- members of the person’s household
- close family members
If the deceased has neither household or family members in attendance then is possible for a modest number of friends to attend.
At no point should mourners mix closer than 2 metres apart and should avoid any direct face-to-face or physical contact unless they are part of the same household. Mourners should follow the general advice on hand hygiene and the prevention of the spread of infection.
Mourners who are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus or are part of a household with possible coronavirus infection, should not attend any gatherings. In many situations, the household members of the deceased will be the next of kin; they may be having to self-isolate in line with household guidance. Where the funeral scheduled to take place before the period of household isolation has been completed (14 days from the first case in that household), there should be no mixing between mourners who are self-isolating and those who are not. Mourners who are sympomatic should not attend in any circumstance.
This advice is being monitored and will be updated when necessary.
Please note that the chapel at Ely Cemetery will remain closed during this time.