We are please to be able to welcome families into our church buildings for funerals. Below are some general details – do contact me if you need to know any more, Andrew Dawswell,Vicar 01782 619594
At the moment the maximum number who can attend a funeral is in St Andrew’s is 55 (with a limit of 52 at the crematorium being in operation at the time of writing). All are required to wear masks, except ethose who are exampt (although they can be removed while doing a tribute a reading from the front)
When people are sitting down for a service of maybe 15-30 minutes duration, there is actually a far greater risk of contagion than when briefly passing by another person in the supermarket.
- We are therefore asking that people only share a pew with members of the same household.
- As our building is large we have arranged the pews to be further apart than normal, which combined with the height of the building means that there are less risks than in most indoor spaces
Concluding committal prayers
In our area, with the crematorium only a quarter of an hour away, services in church are usually followed by a separate 5-minute act of committal at the crematorium
However in many places where greater distances are involved, the committal prayers are often said in church – sometimes with one or two family members accompanying the hearse on to the crematorium, sometimes the whole funeral party simply standing in respect as the hearse leaves the church site.
Perhaps in these circumstances families may consider either of these patterns as way of avoiding the risks of going into a heavily-used crematorium building. However if you do decide that you would prefer the final committal prayers to take place at the crematorium, I am very happy to do this
General hygiene details
- Our toilets will be available for the benefit of guests who have to travel a long way, or in emergencies. Please use the antibacterial wipes provided to clean the tap handles
- All people using our building are asked to use hand gel (bottles provided if needed) before entering the building; and afterwards too
Who can attend a service? – some special cases
1) Mourners who are self-isolating due to a possible case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in their household
Key mourners of the deceased person may include those who are self-isolating due to another member of the household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). Where the funeral is scheduled before the period of household isolation has been completed (14 days from the first person in that household showing symptoms) mourners who are self-isolating should be facilitated to attend.
Mourners who are from a household that is self-isolating should:
- not attend if they have any symptoms of any kind, even if these are very mild
- maintain a distance of at least 2 metres between themselves and others
- advise the other mourners that they are otherwise self-isolating at home, and communicate that their presence means that others who are extremely clinically vulnerable should not attend
- practise careful hand and respiratory hygiene:
- washing their hands more often – with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds or by using a hand sanitizer.
- avoiding touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Covering their coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin which should be clearly sign-posted and readily accessible.
- Mourners who are from a household that is self-isolating are advised to use their own transport where possible.
2) Mourners who are extremely clinically vulnerable
Mourners who are in an extremely clinically vulnerable group should be facilitated to attend, should they decide to do so.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should have received a letter telling them they are in this group or been told by their GP. Mourners who are in an extremely clinically vulnerable group have been advised that they should minimise their contact with others for their personal protection. However, they may decide to attend a funeral despite the additional risk this poses to them and should be facilitated to do so.
They are not advised to attend a funeral if there are others attending who are self-isolating due to another member of the household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, as they could be incubating disease. Mourners who are extremely clinically vulnerable should follow the general social distancing advice for the clinically vulnerable mourners and should maintain a distance of 2 metres away from others as a minimum.
Actions to reduce their risk of infection could include:
- advising other attendees that there is an extremely clinically vulnerable person attending and reiterating the need to stay at home if they are unwell, and to be respectful of the vulnerable person’s need to avoid close contact at any point
- advising the mourner to travel to the venue via the safest route possible, preferably in a car by themselves, or with someone from their household
- considering the additional risk involved if attending the funeral requires travelling by public transport
- ensuring that mourners who are in a clinically vulnerable group do not attend the same ceremony as mourners who are in household isolation