Page Updated Monday 17th July 2020
17.07.20 – Reintroduction of Services
Please rest assured that the following has been written only after thorough consideration. To protect both our families and staff we have, throughout the current Covid 19 pandemic, aired on the side of caution. However in light of the lockdown restrictions easing and in accord with the most current government guidelines as of 1st August 2020 we will be slowly reintroducing some of our suspended services.
PLEASE FIND OUR UPDATED SERVICES BELOW
- If government guidelines change our procedures/services may also change without notice and before updates can be made public.
- Where not mentioned all previous restrictions apply.
- If you feel unwell follow NHS guidelines.
Where possible we still strongly encourage funeral arrangements be made by telephone or email. If absolutely essential and by prior appointment only we can come to you but insist that our Funeral Director is able to maintain and social distance of at least 1 metre, they will be wearing a mask and gloves for the duration of the visit – outdoors is best. Our office will remain closed for arrangements at this time. We may require you to sign a Covid 19 statement declaring you are fit and well and not displaying any symptoms of ill health.
Chapel of Rest
Embalming and visits to our chapel of rest are now permitted for all guests who are Covid 19 free. Strictly by prior appointment only and you will be required to wear a mask and gloves at all times during your visit. Sorry but we are unable to offer you refreshments or use of our toilet facilities.
Our limousines are all fitted with protective screens for the safety of our clients and staff, however there are some new rules to follow:
- Maximum number of passengers is 6 per limousine. This means we can no longer allow a passenger to travel in the front seat with the driver.
- All passengers should be from the same household or social bubble.
- All passengers to wear their own face coverings while travelling. Our chauffeurs will also be wearing a face covering whilst travelling with passengers.
- Our chauffeurs will not open or close doors for passengers to allow for social distancing. This applies each time passengers enter or exit the vehicle.
- Passengers are encouraged to use hand sanitiser which we have in each limousine.
- The interior and handles of our limousines will be disinfected before each funeral.
- The air conditioning will remain off at all times and windows to be open for ventilation.
We are currently facing very uncertain times as the COVID-19 epidemic unfolds across the United Kingdom.
It’s difficult to say how, as a country, we will be able to say goodbye to the people we love and care about in the coming weeks but below is our current, best-thinking approach about how we will manage future funeral arrangements over the coming weeks or months.
Firstly – If you are feeling unwell and feel you may pose a risk by attending a funeral, we would advise you to follow the NHS guidelines.
As a responsible business, we have additional procedures in place after liaising with other funeral homes, trade bodies and many other professional organisations, to ensure we’ve planned and prepared appropriately for the current situation.
What we are doing
As part of our planning, we are considering a range of infection-control options in line with the latest advice given by Public Health England. We are also working with partners, such as local crematoria and burial grounds, to ensure we comply with their COVID-19 procedures.
It goes without saying that if we find ourselves in a position of increased risk to health or are at risk of spreading the coronavirus then we may need to make some hard and possibly, uncomfortable decisions. However, please be assured that we remain committed to caring for you and the people who have passed as best as we possibly can during these difficult and uncertain times.
At this point in time we have decided to do the following:
- Keep our premises as clean and clear as possible, so we will be limiting the number of people who enter. All funeral arrangements, therefore, will take place over the telephone. We will not be able to visit families in their homes or other venues at this time.
- Ask you a series of questions related to coronavirus/COVID-19 and pneumonia, to ensure we are best equipped to safely deal with these circumstances. This will be done before we collect the person who has passed.
- Use remote paperwork signing but please be assured that we will help you through the correct completion of all paperwork.
- Suspend the use of our private chapel until further notice, which sadly means you will not be able to visit the person who has passed.
- Wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) – even when the risk is deemed to below.
- No longer transport people home before a funeral.
- Not shake hands, this is to protect everyone in our community but we’ll still be warm and friendly.
- Request that we take the coffin into the chapel or venue before all other guests, and no staff member is required to stay in the chapel during the service. We will, however, remain on-hand outside should we be needed.
In the case of coronavirus-related deaths, we may have to arrange a prompt funeral to prevent unnecessary storage and handling of the person who has died.
Our Chatham Office, Kent
In our premises, we have added to our already high standards of infection control by:
- Twice a day, performing a clean-down of all reachable surfaces, door handles, light switches, etc.
- Replacing towels in the public toilet with disposable paper towels.
- Providing a hand sanitising station on entry to the building and asking that all who enter, to sanitise or wash their hands immediately and wear gloves, which we will provide.
Other possible considerations
With regards to other details, we need to make you aware of the following possibilities:
- Collections from home or nursing home: while we still await guidance from the government on appropriate procedures and specific details around protective clothing for funeral directors, we may not be able to collect people who have died from their own home or nursing home – it may be that another appointed team needs to be called. Each situation will be treated individually, however, so please do call and we will advise of the next best steps at the time you call.
- Venues may cancel at short notice – under these circumstances, we will make every effort to replace the ceremony with something meaningful, but it may be necessary to arrange a memorial service or thanksgiving ceremony at a later date. We will be more than happy to help with these arrangements in future if required.
- If the service was due to take place at a venue where live webcasting is available, then this may be a viable option. We will help to ensure this is implemented and in communicating the details to people via our social media pages.
- Service times at crematoria may be altered to cope with increased demand.
- Our Limousine service has been suspended to protect the health of the driver. Families will, therefore, need to make their own way to the funeral service, assuming access is being allowed.
- We may need to bring in additional staff to help with the increased need. Please be assured we will still be operating to the highest standards of care and be assured that there is always at least one permanent staff member in attendance.
- We may have to adapt our working practices to adhere to any new rules that are imposed during this period.
Thank you for your ongoing patience.
We will do our very best for you and your loved one.
If you have any questions about coronavirus/COVID-19 and funerals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Button & Family Funeral Services by calling 01634 813989 or by emailing [email protected]