Co-op Funeralcare updates on coronavirus
We’re keeping up to date with the latest government guidance on funerals. Currently, 30 people can attend a funeral in England and Wales, and 20 people can attend in Scotland. See below for latest information and advice on arranging and attending a funeral.
Last updated Wednesday 21st October 2020
If someone has died
Contact your local funeral home and we'll bring them into our care as soon as possible. We look after all loved ones in our care in a respectful and dignified way with the highest level of care and cleanliness.
Arranging a funeral
All funeral arrangements can be made over the phone, and we can send any forms or documents needed for the funeral in the post or by email.
If you’d prefer to visit one of our funeral homes you must have a pre-arranged appointment, as we can only allow two clients in the funeral home at any one time. This applies to funeral arrangements and visits to the chapel of rest.
To comply with latest government advice, we also ask that face coverings are worn when entering a funeral home, unless there's a valid reason for not wearing one. More details about face coverings and exemptions can be found on the government website.
Before you visit a funeral home, we'll ask you if:
- you’ve returned from any foreign country in the past 14 days,
- you’ve been in contact with someone with confirmed or suspected coronavirus,
- you’ve been showing the following symptoms: a new, continuous cough, high temperature, or a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.
We can advise you on all the latest funeral guidelines.
- Can I still arrange a funeral?
- Attending a funeral
- What’s changed for funeral services?
- How can I register the death?
- Visiting a funeral home
- Can I delay a funeral for a later date?
- Difficulty paying for a funeral
- Changes to pre-paid funeral plans
Can I still arrange a funeral?
Yes, you can. You can arrange a funeral over the phone or visit one of our funeral homes if you prefer.
A more simple option for those who want to keep costs down. Our essential funeral has all the essentials of a funeral service with a few limitations on flexibility.
A simple, unattended cremation with no service or ceremony. Our direct cremation allows you to celebrate the person's life at a time and place to suit you.
Attending a funeral
How many people can attend a funeral in England and Wales?
In England and Wales, the government has advised 30 people can attend a funeral. This guidance could change if a local area faces tighter restrictions.
As every venue may have different rules on how many are allowed at a funeral service, your local funeral director will be able to let you know how many attendees your chosen funeral venue allows.
How many people can attend a funeral in Scotland?
In Scotland, the government has advised 20 people can attend a funeral and services are no longer limited to close family. The number may be lower if the venue is smaller and safe social distancing cannot be observed for 20 people. This guidance could change if a local area faces tighter restrictions.
How many people are allowed at a wake?
Post-funeral gatherings or wakes are still allowed, but the rules are different depending on where they are to be held. Numbers are limited to:
- 15 people in England
- 20 people in Scotland
- 30 people in Wales - wakes and any post-funeral gatherings are not allowed during the Welsh circuit break lockdown (23rd October to 9th November)
Attendees from different households will need to follow social distancing and other general guidelines on both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Do I need to wear a face covering at a funeral?
Yes. If you’re attending a funeral at an indoor venue, please wear a face covering.
Who can go to a funeral?
So long as the number of people attending doesn’t exceed the number outlined by the government, it is up to you who goes to the funeral. Your funeral director will be let you know how many people can attend where you are.
Advice is still that anyone from the higher risk groups, for example over 70s, pregnant, or immunocompromised, should not attend.
Unless you live in the same household or are in a support bubble, we're asking mourners to make sure they are always 2 metres apart from each other.
Your local funeral home will be able to provide you with the most up to date guidance for your local area. Find your local funeral home here.
What’s changed for funeral services?
To maintain our levels of care to clients and colleagues, unfortunately there are a number of changes that we have to make to our service and we can no longer offer the following:
- bringing the coffin to rest at your home before the funeral
- taking fingerprints for silver fingerprints jewellery if the death is due to coronavirus
- catering services
- taking donations on families behalf - we ask that any donations are made direct to the chosen charity or organisation online
Please also note that:
- embalming is now only available in certain funeral homes - your local funeral director will be able to let you know if this service is available
- there may be less flexibility of day and time of the funeral - if this is the case, we’ll work through all the options with you
Can funerals be held in a church?
Yes, you can have a funeral in a church, but there are limits on how many people can attend. Your local funeral director will be able to advise you.
Can the funeral still follow religious customs?
Your local funeral director will be able to advise on the options available for specific rituals and customs. Rest assured we’ll do everything we can to help you to say goodbye.
Are there any restrictions on the type of funeral for someone who’s died from coronavirus?
We’re well prepared to take care of people who have died with coronavirus in line with the official guidance. We have the necessary equipment, systems, processes and trained personnel to do this. We have specific ways of working prepared for anyone who dies in either an NHS facility or within the community, adapted from the PHE and HSE guidance.
There are no restrictions that prevent someone who has died from coronavirus having a funeral, whether that’s for a cremation or a burial. We’re following government guidelines closely and should the advice change we’ll provide updates on this page.
Do you have facilities for live streaming of funerals?
When arranging a funeral, we’ll work closely with the crematorium of your choice to understand if any live streaming or recording facilities are available for you to then share with wider family and friends (via a private web link) who are unable to attend in person.
How can I register the death?
You'll need to register the death before the funeral can take place. The person who registers the death usually needs to visit the local registrar to do this, however you can now do this over the phone or online.
If you’re self-isolating or unable to register the death with the registrar directly, we can do this on your behalf.
Use of limousines
We've put measures in place to meet social distancing rules whilst using our vehicles. This is to protect you, your family and our colleagues as much as possible. Our cars have been adapted and fitted with screens separating the driver and passenger areas.
We advise that passengers do not travel if:
- they or someone they live with have experienced coronavirus symptoms within the last 7 days (including a high temperature, new and continuous cough or loss or change to sense of smell or taste)
- they or someone they live with have recently tested positive for coronavirus
- they or someone they live with are awaiting test results
- they've been asked to self-isolate for any other reason (e.g. traced as being in close contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with the virus)
Our colleagues will be maintaining social distancing with passengers.
The number of passengers allowed to travel in a limousine is limited to a maximum of 4 if they’re from the same household (including support bubbles). If passengers are from different households only 2 will be allowed to travel in a limousine.
If passengers are from different households, they must sit on separate rows on opposite sides of the vehicle.
All passengers must wear a face covering, which fully covers the nose and mouth, when travelling in the vehicle. Passengers must provide their own face covering.
If you'd like more information on what to expect when travelling in one of our vehicles, speak to your local funeral director. They'll be able to answer any questions you may have about our vehicles.
Visiting a funeral home
So that we can protect our clients and colleagues, we’re restricting the number of people visiting our funeral homes at any one time to a maximum of 2. We may ask you to wait outside if there are already 2 people in the funeral home.
We’re likely to ask you a couple of questions, for example, to understand if you fall into a high-risk group. We’ll make sure a suitable distance between us to comply with guidance on social distancing.
Do I need to wear a face covering?
If you’re visiting one of our funeral homes, you must wear a face covering to your appointment, unless there is a valid reason you are unable to wear one. More details about face coverings and exemptions can be found on the government website.
My local Co-op Funeralcare is closed, what should I do?
Unfortunately, it may not be possible for all our funeral homes to remain open if colleagues are themselves self-isolating or are unwell. If your local funeral home has had to close temporarily, call our team on 0800 088 4872.
Can I still visit my loved one in the chapel of rest?
You can continue to visit loved ones in our care, but we do ask that only immediate family or close friends do this. Please call us to make an appointment to visit, this is so we can make sure we limit the number of visitors to the funeral home at any one time.
If your loved one’s death was coronavirus related, unfortunately we’re unable to let you visit, to prevent further onward infection and to keep you safe.
Will there be hygiene measures in place if I visit a funeral home?
We have hand washing facilities and hand sanitiser available and we’re taking every precaution in our funeral homes to make sure that we continue to have high standards of hygiene.
Can I delay a funeral for a later date, when government controls have been lifted?
Funerals should take place as soon as possible, rather than be delayed indefinitely.
You may want to think about holding a celebration of life or a memorial service at a later date when restrictions have been lifted and we’ll give you all the help you need with this.
What should I do if I have difficulty paying for a funeral?
We know a funeral can often be an unexpected cost. If during the funeral arrangement, you feel like the funeral is costing more than you’re comfortable with, tell your funeral director and they will help you find ways to keep the cost down.
If you’d prefer to pay in instalments, you may be eligible to apply for a funeral loan through our partner Funeral Safe. You can find details on loan amounts and repayments, eligibility and details on how to apply here.
Alternatively, you may be able to get help with funeral costs from the government.
Helping you say goodbye
We're proud to serve our communities, and our colleagues in our funeral homes are finding unique and beautiful ways to honour the ones we've lost. From arranging for our hearse to visit the people and places that meant so much, to helping you arrange a fitting memorial service when we're allowed to meet again.
It's also why we're working with our charity partners Mind, SAMH and Inspire, who can provide the bereaved with information and practical support.
Saying goodbye is never easy, but we're working hard to do everything we can to make it as loving and caring as possible.
Changes to pre-paid funeral plans
What if items in my funeral plan are no longer available due to coronavirus?
Changes we’ve had to make to our funeral services to comply with government controls could impact our ability to fulfil the services included in any Co-op funeral plans redeemed at this time.
We’re currently providing partial refunds on funeral plans where the services can’t be met, your funeral director will talk you through anything that cannot be fulfilled and arrange a refund for these services.
What if I can't pay for my funeral plan instalments?
If you already have a Co-op funeral plan and are struggling to pay for your plan, please contact us and we can discuss all available options with you.
Refunds and cheques for cancelled plans
If you’ve cancelled a plan, the refund generally takes up to 4 weeks to process. If you have waited longer than the agreed 4 weeks please email our customer care team at firstname.lastname@example.org they will be able to provide help with any queries.
Speak with your local funeral director if you have any questions about arranging or attending a funeral. Each local area will probably do things a little differently but your funeral director will be able to advise on this.
We’re here to help support and guide you through. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 0800 088 4872