At 11:59pm on March 25, 2020, New Zealand entered Alert Level 4 of the New Zealand Covid-19 Alert Levels. Under these conditions only essential businesses can operate as the New Zealand public are advised to stay at home within their “self-isolated family bubbles”.
Funeral homes fall within the ‘Health’ category of essential businesses, as such Cleggs Funerals is here for you should you need us, but along with all other funeral homes we must operate under strict conditions.
No funeral services can occur while we remain at Alert Level 4. This includes public and private gatherings either indoors or out.
We understand that this is upsetting and goes against common cultural practices and our funeral directors will work with you to come up with alternate ways of grieving while we are self-isolating.
Viewing of Bodies
There will be an opportunity for family and whānau who have been in the same isolation bubble as the deceased to go to the funeral home to view the body. Other family, whānau, friends or others in separate isolation bubbles cannot go to the funeral home for viewing. Viewing of bodies must only take place in a funeral home managed by a funeral director registered with their local authority. Funeral homes have been identified as a controlled environment during Alert Level 3 and 4.
The number of people who will be able to view the body will be negotiated with the funeral director and will depend on the size of the funeral home. Funeral home staff must work within the physical distancing protocols as outlined by the Ministry of Health. The funeral director must ascertain the size of any one ‘bubble’ participating in a viewing and may have to split the ‘bubble’ to accommodate physical distancing, depending on the size of their funeral home facilities. A funeral director or member of the funeral home staff must be present in the funeral home at all times and meet physical distancing rules while any viewing is in progress. The funeral director’s premises must be sanitised after a viewing has taken place.
The deceased may not be transported from the funeral home for viewing purposes at any time. Funeral directors may also allow religious rituals for the care of the body to occur. However, these must be carried out in the presence of an embalmer who will give direction to anyone present on the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements. Activities such as kissing, washing or touching the body must not occur before, during or after the viewing. For example, Muslims have two fundamental requirements for funeral and burial, ghusl (ritual washing) and janaza (prayer over the body), that must be carried out by Muslims and within their strict rules for handling of the body. In this example, funeral directors may wish to work with their Muslim communities to identify Muslim males and females who can prepare the body of the deceased for correct funeral and burial, under the supervision of the embalming staff.
Funeral directors must keep a register of all persons entering the funeral home for the purposes of any viewing or religious/cultural rituals which take place.
The register must include:
- exact day and time the viewing took place
- full names of all viewing
- current physical address of the viewers’ isolation bubble.
- email addresses
- mobile phone numbers
Know that you aren’t alone. These limitations will have an effect on the way we honour those we’ve lost but we are committed to helping you find innovative ways to connect with your loved ones and can still offer counselling over the phone.
Cremations and Burials
Under Alert Level 4 cremations and burials will still take place, however families will not be allowed to attend. Cemeteries and crematoria are closed to the public until further notice.
We will attempt to make arrangements via telephone and have paperwork completed electronically. If this is not possible for you for any reason please let us know. If required we will make an appointment for you to visit the funeral home.
Only one representative may come to the funeral home if this is required.
During this crisis our doors will be locked but you can still contact us via email or telephone. If you are required to come to us we will schedule a time for you to visit. Before and after your visit we will ensure all commonly touched objects and surfaces are cleaned.
Updated: 04 Apr 2020