Funerals & COVID-19
During this time of ongoing health crisis, please see below some things to bear in mind about funerals during the time of COVID-19. Contact us for more information.
Funerals during COVID-19
We are working as hard as we can to ensure that families continue to be able to have a dignified funeral for their loved ones during these unusual and uneasy times. Sadly, the social distancing guidelines in force across the country will affect the funerals of all people, not just those who have tested positive to the coronavirus. Please therefore see some fo the regulations detailed below, and the ways we are trying to assist with them.
The most important development affecting all funerals, is that almost all churches, other places of worship, cemetery chapels and meeting halls are closed to the public (including for funerals) during this time, and indefinitely moving forward. This means many families will not be able to gather together in these venues for funeral services. For this reason, we have installed the necessary equipment in our private chapel of rest in Beckenham to allow us to hold a small funeral service presided over by either a minister or celebrant which can be broadcast live over the internet so family members can watch it live from the safety of their own home.
For cremations, the crematorium chapels are mostly still open for funeral services where the deceased is being cremated. However, these venues are insisting on the social distancing guidelines recommended by the government, and so are only allowing a small number of closest family members to attend. Many of these crematoria also have webcasting facilities, so other friends and family could watch live from the safety of their home. It is important to note, though, that some local crematoria are not allowing any family to attend in circumstances where the deceased had tested positive to covid-19; but this is not the case in all venues, and our team will guide you through this.
For burials the use of the cemetery chapel is not permitted so only graveside services are allowed and only a limited number of family members. In this case it might be suitable to make use of our private webcasting facility in Beckenham for a service before the burial. At the graveside, cemeteries are also insisting on the social distancing guidelines recommended by the government, and so are only allowing a small number of closest family members to attend, and they must remain 2 metres apart at all times. Sadly, the ability for families to fill in the grave themselves in not permitted during these times.
Registering the death during COVID-19
Please be advised that the death must still be registered. The procedures for this are changing all the time as different authorities respond to the health crisis, but as things stand in most local authorities the procedure is still the same and families need to make an appointment to register (please note it may take a few days to get an appointment due to a limited service). If families are isolating or unable to leave the house then another family member or friend can register the death, and in extreme circumstances we may be allowed to register the death on your behalf.
Caring for the deceased during COVID-19
It is our firm commitment always to treat the deceased people in our care with the love and dignity with which we would treat members of our own family. The COVID-19 health crisis does not change this in any way. All deceased people will be brought by us to our newly built mortuary and cared for properly up to the time of their funeral.
The options of our washing, dressing and (where desired by the family) embalming the deceased are still available during this health crisis, but we are sadly not always able to offer the provision of embalming of those people who have tested positive to the coronavirus. Similarly, the viewing of coronavirus victims in our chapel of rest is sometimes advised against by the National Association of Funeral Directors, and so for the safety both of our staff and our client families, in some circumstances we will only be offering visits to our chapel of rest with a closed coffin. In keeping with the guidance on social distancing, we will only be allowing one person to visit the chapel at a time (unless visitors are members of the same household).
General advice and guidance
When arranging a funeral with us please advise us as soon as you can if the deceased was infected with the coronavirus so our staff can take the necessary precautions when handling the body for their safety.
In line with the Government’s guidelines, we advise that most arrangements should be made over the phone with our arrangers. Visits to our premises should be kept to a minimum for your safety, to hand over paperwork and clothing and sign paperwork. Our brochures and services are all available on our website.
At N. S. Wibberley Funerals we are still providing limousines, but are only permitting 4 persons to travel allowing for social distancing and no persons in the front.
Whilst these procedures are not ideal and take away some of the personalisation of arranging a funeral, we feel the precautions are necessary for the safety of our dedicated staff and the families we are looking after. It is our mission to ensure each funeral is conducted with the same level of care and professionalism whilst working within these limitations and our intention is always to give families the best service we can whilst keeping everyone safe.
We sincerely thank you for your co-operation and understanding at this difficult time.
Please follow the guidance set out by the government and stay safe.
Founder & Managing Director
“The team at N. S. Wibberley Funerals made us feel relaxed and at ease. They helped us with all the arrangements of our father’s funeral and guided us in the right way to proceed.”
Former funeral client.
“Very good at what they do. Nicholas and his team have great attention to detail and their funerals are always a very personal affair.”
Teri Berkengoff, Civil Celebrant.
“They take great pride in doing a good job.”
Rev Paul Milligan, Roman Catholic Deacon.
280 High Street, Beckenham
020 8650 2422
Saturday/Sunday: By appointment