Funeral Industry News
Carrying The Cords And Coffin
Prior to the pandemic, family members could participate in the lowering or carrying of the coffin at the crematorium or the burial ground. They were routinely assisted and directed by funeral directors and/ or their staff, or at burial grounds, burial ground staff, in doing so.
As experienced professionals, funeral directors, their staff, or the burial ground staff’s role is to guide the process. Because of the requirement to remain 2 metres apart from one another, in most cases, staff will only be able to ensure a coffin is carried correctly and safely by undertaking this without family involvement.
However, each funeral director is able to carry out a risk assessment and there may be circumstances where the family can have a role in carrying the coffin, such as carrying it as a single household, and the options should be discussed with the relatives. In most cases, the 2 metre physical distancing requirement prevents this. It is a decision for the funeral director to make on a case-by-case basis and to discuss with the cremation/ burial authority to allow it.
For convenience, the 2 metre physical distancing requirement is in Regulation 5 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, and states:
[To note: ultimately, it’s the duty of the person responsible for the premises to ensure the below, however, everyone should of course do what they can to assist messaging and managing of rules on the day]
- (1) A person who is responsible for a place of worship, carrying on a business or providing a service must take—
(a) measures to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that—
(i) the required distance is maintained between any persons on its premises (except between persons mentioned in paragraph (2)), (ii) persons are admitted to its premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain the required distance, (iii) the required distance is maintained between any persons waiting to enter its premises (except between persons mentioned in paragraph (2)),
(b) all other measures which are reasonably practicable to minimise the risk of the incidence and spread of coronavirus on the premises, for example measures which limit close face to face interaction and maintain hygiene such as—
(i) changing the layout of premises including the location of furniture and workstations,
(ii) controlling the use of entrances, passageways, stairs and lifts,
(iii) controlling the use of shared facilities such as toilets and kitchens,
(iv) otherwise controlling the use of, or access to, any other part of the premises,
(v) installing barriers or screens,
(vi) providing, or requiring the use of, personal protective equipment, and
(vii) providing information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus.
(2) The persons mentioned in paragraph (1)(a)(i) and (iii) are—
(a) two or more members of the same household,
(b) a carer and the person assisted by the carer, or
(c) in relation to premises being used to provide school education, two or more persons where at least one of them is a pupil.