The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a lot of restrictions on everyday life, but the impact on funerals has been one of the hardest for people to cope with. While you may not be able to give your loved one the send-off you imagined right now, we can help you to make sure they are remembered in the right way, at the right time.
What are the current funeral restrictions for COVID-19?
- The number of mourners is limited to a maximum of 30 people, but this number is lower in smaller venues.
- People who are self-isolating or with COVID-19 symptoms should not attend the funeral.
- Services are often shorter than usual to allow time for the chapel to be thoroughly cleaned.
- People from different households must remain socially distanced within the chapel.
- Face masks should be worn by everyone, except the person leading the service and anyone who is medically exempt.
- People are not allowed to sing, but you are allowed an organist, or to play music through a sound system.
How do lockdown restrictions affect direct cremation?
Direct cremation now accounts for one in 14 funerals in the UK, and more and more people are choosing a direct cremation instead of a traditional funeral service due to COVID-19. That’s because direct cremation is carried out separately from the service, allowing you to wait until restrictions are lifted to celebrate your loved one’s life.
How has COVID-19 affected how Harbour Funerals work?
Our direct cremation has been able to continue as normal during the pandemic. Usually a cremation can be carried out within one week and all of the paperwork is handled by our team online or over the phone.
We will deliver your loved one’s ashes to you, but we are unable to enter your home due to social distancing guidelines. We will wear face masks and are allowed to hand over the urn personally.
We have also introduced a new option to help people at this particularly difficult time. We understand many people would like to host their own private memorial service in the future but would prefer not to keep their loved one’s ashes at home. Therefore, if you’d like us to, we will store the ashes, free of charge, for up to one year.
Can I have a memorial service after lockdown?
Yes. Many friends and relatives are planning to hold memorial services once social distancing restrictions are lifted. While some people will want a more traditional service, you don’t need a funeral director for this, although Harbour may be able to recommend a celebrant to help you to plan the service. But the memorial can be anything you want. Many people choose to scatter their loved one’s ashes in a favourite spot, others prefer to go to a local pub or restaurant with friends and family to celebrate a life. It can be as unique as the person you’re remembering and should be as formal or informal as feels right to you. People sometimes have ashes turned into jewellery as a keepsake, and we’ve also known people to place ashes in fireworks, so that their loved one can go out with a bang.