Updated : 2nd July 2020
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having a major impact on the way in which we all live and work and is likely to do for some time to come. Unfortunately, these changes also extend to funeral services. It is with great sadness that we must implement these measures but at times such as these we must all act responsibly to ensure that every possible precaution is taken to reduce the spread of infection. These measures are essential to protect not only you and your family but also our staff, without whom no funerals services would take place.
We would strongly urge you that in the event of you or members of your family developing symptoms of Coronavirus (continuous cough, high temperature,) that the government advice is followed immediately - isolation for 14 days and avoid all contact with others. Under these circumstances an infected person(s) should never attend a funeral service as this is likely to result in others becoming ill, possibly with fatal consequences. Some crematoriums are able to 'live stream' the service (Dudley & Sandwell) via the internet but if all else fails other family members could record the service on their phones for you in your absence.
In our efforts to protect everyone, we have implemented a range of infection control measures. This is in line with advice provided by Public Health England (PHE) as well as local councils and the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF,) our trade body.
In the event of changes to advice or if we find ourselves in a position of increased risk to health, we reserve the right to make further alterations to these precautionary measures:
- If your loved one has passed away at home, please contact us on 0121 557 1347 and if this is outside our normal working hours, please follow the instructions on the message. Please be aware that at this time staff will be attending wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (protective suits, face masks and gloves) regardless of the circumstances of the death. If you believe that the death is respiratory (breathing) related or has been confirmed as Coronavirus then please bring this to our attention when you first call.
- Funeral arrangements will be made over the phone and we will where possible aim to deliver paperwork to you to be signed.
- Registration of the death will now be by phone. Always ask for a copy of the Death Certificate to be posted to you recorded delivery.
- Our offices are in 'lock down' so if you do need to come to see us, you must call first. We are now able to return Cremated Remains from our Tipton Office by appointment only.
- To be granted entry into the building all visitors must come equipped with a face mask. A scarf or shawl can be used where no mask is available. This must be worn at all times.
- We are now able to offer limousines. Perspex screens have been fitted and vehicles will be sanitised between use. Certain restrictions will still apply.
- To protect everyone concerned we will only be allowing one chapel visit per family at this time to those family members who have no need to self-isolate. Only 2 people will be allowed into our office at any one time. It is with deep regret however that if your loved one is suspected to have contracted the virus, preparation and viewing will not be possible.
- Services in church are not available at this time and services for burial must therefore take place at the graveside. Many Churches have said that they are prepared to offer Memorial services for loved ones at a future but unspecified date.
- Services at local Crematoriums and burial grounds are restricted in terms of the number of mourners that are allowed to attend as a result of further restrictions imposed from Tuesday 14th April. Unless specfied below, the maximum number of mourners allowed to attend cremation services at each of the seven West Midlands Authorities remains at 10 mourners.
DUDLEY COUNCIL (Policy change date : 2nd July 2020)
Gornal Wood Crematorium - 16 mourners inside the chapel with a further 15 allowed to stand outside the chapel keeping to government social distancing guidance.
Stourbridge Crematorium - 10 mourners inside the chapel with a further 15 allowed to stand outside the chapel keeping to government social distancing guidance.
Dudley Cemeteries - 30 mourners within the Cemetery grounds. Only 6 close family members stand near the grave with everyone else standing back and keeping to government social distancing guidance.
Note: Please be aware that due to the urgent need for work at Stourbridge Crematorium, funeral servies will not be held there from 1st August. It is anticipated that it will remain closed for cremations until December. In view of this, restricted service times will remain in place at Gornal Wood Crematorium.
Witnessing the burial of cremated remains or witnessing the scattering of cremated remains can now take place (on a limited basis) with restricted attendance in line with full burial attendance.
- SANDWELL COUNCIL (Policy Change Date : 30th May 2020)
Sandwell Valley Crematorium - 20 mourners inside the Chapel.
Rowley Regis Crematorium (Powke Lane) - 16 mourners inside the Chapel.
Sandwell Cemeteries - 20 mourners.
Witnessing burial or scattering of cremated remains is not currently available.
- WOLVERHAMPTON COUNCIL (policy Change Date : 25th June 2020)
Bushbury Crematorium - 12 mourners inside the Chapels.
Wolverhampton Cemeteries - 12 mourners.
Witnessing the interment of cremated remains can now take place (on a limited basis) with no more than 6 people in attendance. No decision has been reached on witnessed scattering of cremated remains.
- Please be aware that service times at crematoria could be adjusted and/or reduced to allow for increased demand for services in the weeks ahead.
- Gates will remain locked at Bushbury Crematorium and Wolverhampton Cemeteries and access will only be granted for funeral services taking place at that time. These restrictions do not currently apply at Dudley & Sandwell Crematoria & Cemeteries.
- Councils have restricted the use of family bearers. The Funeral Director and staff must convey the coffin from the hearse to the chapel/grave before mourners can enter the chapel or assemble at the graveside.
- Funeral services in crematoria chapels must have curtains closed at committal.
- Witnessing of the coffin charge for cremation and the back-filling of graves by mourners is suspended at this time.
- Where further restrictions are imposed upon us we may be obliged to make alterations to funeral services including those that have already been arranged.
- Although our florist will do all they can to provide fresh floral tributes, this may not be possible if flowers can not be sourced. We have however made alternative arrangements for re-usable silk floral displays to be available in this eventuality.
We are truly sorry that we must impose these restrictions and hope that you understand.
If you have any further questions then please don't hesitate to call.