Funeral sector meets with government amid coronavirus outbreak

Funeral directors have met with the government in regards to the recent outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.

Members of The National Association of Funeral Directors, Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities, National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, Cremation Society and the Association of Private Cemeteries and Crematoria requested support with access to equipment that is in scarce supply, and the need for additional advice and support as the situation develops.

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In a statement, the NAFD said the “key outcome” is that funerals should continue, as normally as possible, but “take into account all of the guidelines issued by the government for minimising the risk of transmission”.

The statement read: “This includes the need to protect at risk groups, to avoid large gatherings of people, for good hand hygiene and the avoidance of unnecessary physical contact. 

“This is not only for the benefit of those attending funerals, it also supports the urgent need to protect funeral home, crematorium and cemetery employees, who need to remain healthy and able to support bereaved families at this critical time.”

It continued: “In consultation with their local crematoria and cemeteries, funeral homes and families should assess each funeral individually and consider whether it might mean smaller numbers of people and organising a celebration of life or memorial service planned for a later date.

“Alternatives such as webcasting may enable other mourners to participate. This is a fast evolving situation and guidance may well need to change again in the near future. The focus for day-to-day communication will be local resilience forums, with which funeral, crematoria and burial organisations are working closely, across the country.”

Ahead of the meeting, The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) said funeral directors need a “clear national policy” and raise concerns over “inconsistencies of advice appearing across the UK.”

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