Celebrants across the UK have now been included in the official list of ‘key workers’, which has been drawn up as the nation battles the coronavirus crisis.
As reported by the government, the list of people deemed ‘key workers’ was revealed as schools and colleges were ordered to close – it is only the children of such workers, aged and including 17, with vulnerable children to the age of 25, who can continue to attend education providers.
Concerned that Church of England ministers may be under severe pressure in the coming weeks and months, the Association of Independent Celebrants, (AOIC) made its case for professional celebrants to be added to the list. As some relatives of the deceased may wish to have celebrants conduct proceedings, which could have been prevented by their exclusion from the list.
AOIC’s executive chair Philip Spicksley, took up the issue on behalf of celebrants. Following discussions between Phil and the chief executive of SAIF, Terry Tennens, the matter was discussed at the most recent meeting of the Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG).
“As a result of that, I am both pleased and relieved to see that celebrants have now been recognised as key workers. In these totally unprecedented times, we must all pull together to offer what help and support we can to each other.”
Whilst the list included ‘religious staff’ and ‘those responsible for managing the deceased’ there was no mention of celebrants.
The news follows after the government released guidelines regarding funerals after the announcement that the UK would be entering lockdown amid the Covid-19 virus outbreak.
Boris Johnson announced that all social gatherings were banned, which included weddings and baptisms as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Although places of worship have also closed, funerals are still allowed to go ahead, with only immediate family attending.
The government said these measures will “reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.”