A tragedy across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the immense loss of many loved ones. In 2020, almost 700,000 deaths were registered* in the United Kingdom, heavily impacting funeral planning for many. Navigating funeral planning during COVID-19 is complex as the pandemic has affected every aspect of the process.
This article will summarize how COVID-19 has affected funeral planning, especially with regard to current restrictions and expenses. Being aware of how COVID-19 has affected funeral planning can help ensure that families and loved ones are prepared.
Knowing what to expect from pandemic funerals can ease some of the stress of the funeral planning process, allowing for more time and energy to be focused on remembering and celebrating the life of the deceased loved one.
Restrictions on In-Person Funeral Attendance
The UK Government has offered guidance** on funeral planning during the pandemic, including the restrictions on in-person funeral attendance in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.
As of April 12, 2021, no more than 30 people can attend an indoor or outdoor funeral. In addition to this limit, social distancing and hygienic measures are required to help maintain the health and safety of all attendees.
Funeral planning must prioritize both respect for the bereaved and the safety of all attending. Special care must be taken with attendees who are considered high risk or require travel to be present at the funeral.
While the pandemic has posed new challenges for in-person funeral attendance, new avenues of being present to commemorate a loved one have arisen. For example, virtual funerals over Zoom or Skype allow any number of attendees to log on and be together.
Therefore, when planning a funeral, it is important to consider the current restrictions in place, the limitations of the venue where the event is being hosted, the unique circumstances of close family and friends, and alternative methods of hosting. If someone cannot make the event, there are still other ways to honour a loved one’s life.
Financial Costs of a Funeral During the Pandemic
The financial costs of a funeral during a pandemic have increased, and as such, this remains a big concern to those engaging in funeral planning. Many families’ incomes have decreased because of the pandemic, and funeral costs pose a challenge.
It is important to consider the expenses around the type of funeral ceremony, with burial being the most expensive. Thinking about the cost of a venue, limousine transport and catering are also valuable in funeral planning. Many families cut back on costs for catering and a larger venue due to social gathering restrictions mentioned previously, as well as budget limitations.
Another factor to consider is the payment of funeral fines should the service violate COVID-19 restrictions. Fines can amount to thousands of pounds, and thus careful planning can avoid this cost.
Funeral planning during COVID-19 poses a new set of issues to consider. In an already stressful time of grieving, being informed of how the pandemic has impacted services will help funeral planning be a smoother process.
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