Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Funerals and Cremations

Attendance at the Packhorse Cemetery for Burials and Cremations.
The question concerning the number of mourners allowed to attend a burial (earthen or ashes), scattering of ashes or placing of a headstone is high on the agenda of many service providers. In considering this matter it is important that the central role of the funeral ritual to the grieving process for many families is not overlooked. Attendance at a service, to 'say goodbye', provides many people with comfort and any proposal to limit this important religious or secular occasion must be carefully considered.

However, during these extremely challenging times the transmission of the coronavirus at funeral gatherings to the elderly, frail, those in vulnerable groups along with funeral directors and staff cannot be overlooked. Nor can the fact that many elderly people will be concerned about attending funerals but will feel compelled to go out of a sense of duty.

The current advice is to adopt a risk-based approach and apply Government rulings; this is the approach adopted by Melbourne Parish Council.

The Government has stopped all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies, funerals are currently allowed with attendance by the immediate family ONLY.

These new rules will initially last for the three weeks from 23rd March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Cemetery Service Attendance Advice
In considering reducing the transmission of the coronavirus through gatherings at all funeral services, Undertakers must limit attendees to the immediate family (maximum 5):
  • Spouse/Partner
  • Parents/carers
  • Brothers/Sisters
  • Children (and partners)
Please do not attend if:
  • You are aged 70 or over.
  • You are in a high risk group (i.e. have an annual flu inoculation)
  • You show any symptoms of Coronavirus
  • You are self isolating due to being infected or anyone in your household are self isolating.
Non-compliance to these strict regulations by everyone or change in advice received from the Government could mean that Melbourne Parish Council reserves the right to close the Packhorse Cemetery; this is a drastic action but one which could be taken in the interest of public health.