Our services during the Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic
We’ll keep you updated with any changes and the latest guidance on this page. The situation around the coronavirus pandemic is changing rapidly. Please be reassured that we’re continuing to look after families and arrange funerals, and we are here to help you through this difficult time.
We kindly ask for you to call us before coming into our offices so that we can we can give you the correct guidance. If you are affected by Covid-19 or you are self-isolating, we have procedures in place that will ensure we can still arrange a funeral with you.
We are now able to make arrangements in a more personal setting but sadly we still can not visit you at home. If you would like to discus funeral arrangements in person we ask that you contact us to make an appointment to see us at our Wideopen office. We ask that no more than 2 people attend the appointment so that the correct social distancing measures can be adhered to. Of course if you would prefer or if you are currently self isolating, arrangements can still be made over the phone or by video conference.
Please be assured you can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We will maintain our emergency service to bring deceased into our care from private homes after GPs have confirmed an expected death. We will use extra protective uniform in all cases, to help keep risk of transmission as low as possible. We will ask if attending family can be at a minimum so we can maintain government advised “social distancing” of 6ft/2m from each other.
Visiting your loved one in the Chapel of Rest is now available but by appointment only and restricted to no more than 2 people visiting at any one time.
Please consider limiting attendees to your loved ones funeral to members of the immediate family who are not in any of the high-risk categories and are not self-isolating.
Currently the crematoriums are allowing the following number of immediate family to attend:
- West Road – 20 persons
- Cowpen – 30 persons
- Tynemouth – 10 persons
- Whitley Bay – 10 persons
The immediate family being:
- Children (and partners)
Families can opt to live stream the service so those family members and friends who sadly could not attend can still feel part of the service. Although live streaming our moment to say goodbye feels unfamiliar and maybe a little impersonal, the technology is in place and provides a risk-free alternative to social gatherings.
We strongly recommend that funerals take place at the soonest time. Further restrictions on attendance may come into force and this timescale would currently give the best chance of close family being able to attend.
Our limousine is now available and has been fitted with a screen so that there is no contact between you and the driver. Because of this we can only allow 6 people in the car instead of 7. Please be assured that a full clean of the limousine will take place before and after each funeral.
On arrival and departure to the crematoria and cemeteries, mourners are asked to thoroughly sanitise hands with own supply, or use hand washing facilities on site.
When the corona situation has abated then a fuller memorial service can take place for your loved one by eg ashes dispersal or headstone completion, especially where key members of your family may not be able to attend through self-isolating etc.
At present local registrars are conducting all appointments over the phone. They will then forward the death certificate to the relevant parties. Please call us for more information.
We ask any visitors to our branches use the hand sanitiser that is available at the entrance.
We aim to keep an advisable minimum 6 feet/2 metres distance between others in our work.
Priests, ministers and celebrants can help your family with the content of the funeral service by telephone, by post and new technology to keep social contact to a minimum.
We are working with the crematoriums and those conducting the funerals to provide a live stream or recording of the service.
Hymn books, bibles, religious books are put away at the moment in all buildings, and individual song sheets or order of service booklets used instead.
Ashes collection at most crematoria is now restricted to funeral directors. We can look after ashes at no cost until the situation is over, and where local we are able to deliver ashes to your doorstep. Free “unattended” scattering of ashes at the crematorium is always available.
Please be reassured that we’re continuing to look after families and arrange funerals, and we are here to help you through this difficult time.