The team at H. Porter & Sons would like to advise of a number of changes to funerals as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In line with advice from the Government and our trade associations, we are following a range of guidelines aimed at keeping bereaved families and our staff safe by observing social distancing requirements.

Funeral services

The first piece of advice relates to the number of people now permitted at funeral services, which are excluded from the ongoing ban on public gatherings. Currently, only immediate family members should attend a service and these are:

  • Spouse/partner
  • Parents/carers
  • Brothers/Sisters
  • Children (and partners)

During funeral services, mourners are required to observe social distancing and sit at least two metres away from anyone who is not a member of your household and currently living with you.

Ultimately, this advice is about limiting numbers and if you have any questions or concerns about how the above might affect you, please don’t hesitate to ask our team.

Handling coffins

The second piece of advice relates to handling coffins and the body of a person who has died from Covid-19.

Whilst Public Health England states that the risk of transmission from a deceased person is low, we are advised by our trade associations to carry out a risk assessment and wear personal protective equipment where necessary, as surfaces such as that of a coffin could harbour the virus.

The team at H. Porter & Sons will continue to bear coffins into crematorium chapels or to the graveside for burials. But for coronavirus funerals, we will wear protective equipment including face masks and gloves. The aim is to minimise the risks to those in our care and our staff.

Chapel of rest viewings

The third piece of advice relates to viewing loved ones in our chapel of rest.

We are advised by the Royal College of Pathologists and the Association for Anatomical Pathology Technology to request that visitors who wish to view a person who has died of Covid-19 should do so through a window and wear protective equipment.

With that in mind, we will consider viewing requests on a case-by-case basis and grant permission based on an assessment of infection control risks to our clients and staff. Please be aware that we have to assume that relatives of coronavirus victims are likely to be carriers of the disease.

It’s important to bear in mind that this is a fast-changing situation and the above advice could well be updated in the coming days.

Finally, we offer our deepest sympathies to all families facing bereavement during this difficult time.

The impact of the virus on funeral rituals has been huge and we’ll do all we can to ensure people are able to say a meaningful goodbye to loved ones with dignity and respect.

We are also looking to help people arrange memorial and thanksgiving services at a later date when the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. We will not forget anyone.