Cheshire East council is reassuring bereaved families that they will be supported through their difficult time, taking account of new measures implemented by the government and the new Coronavirus Act.
During the current pandemic, new measures are in place for funerals in order to reduce the risks associated with the virus, for funeral service staff and mourners alike.
The council is following new guidelines around mourners attending funerals, who should be members of the person's household, close family members or if these people are unable to attend, close friends and a celebrant of choice should attend if the bereaved family request this.
In line with social distancing measures, seating in chapels has been spaced out and mourners are asked that only those who live in the same household sit in the same row of seats.
Additional measures that have been taken include;
● Service lengths – each service has been reduced in length to allow for time to clean in-between services;
● Hand sanitiser – there are automated hand sanitiser dispensers at the entrance to both crematorium chapels. All visitors are asked to make use of it before entering the building;
● Online bookings – this function has been temporarily removed to allow the council to better respond to the demands on the service over the coming weeks and;
● Interments, placements and witnessed scatterings of ashes – no further bookings will be taken for these activities. All bookings that were made as at close of business 25 March 2020 will be honoured, within the restrictions and government guidance in place.
Councillor Jill Rhodes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for bereavement services, said: "We understand that any bereavement is an extremely difficult time for family and close friends. At the moment, we are facing the added challenging circumstances that the coronavirus outbreak is bringing.
"We are working with Orbitas Bereavement Services, a Cheshire East Council wholly-owned company, to do all we can within current government guidelines to ensure we can continue to give loved ones a fitting send off.
"We advise that people who are extremely clinically vulnerable (shielded) attend services with measures put in place to reduce their risk. People self-isolating, because someone in their household is ill, may attend if they do not have symptoms themselves and those who have symptoms of coronavirus/Covid-19 must not attend and must stay at home.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff within the bereavement services teams and the funeral directors, who are still working hard to serve families across Cheshire East during this challenging time."