Funeral directives issued for Covid-19 crisis
Losing a loved one is a massive trauma in any circumstances. But in the current Covid-19 crisis, it is also a very lonely time, with many people uncertain of what they can and can't do.
Here in Donegal, local undertakers have always been a strong and reliable source of support and guidance for bereaved families, and that is needed now more than ever.
The Irish Association of Funeral Directors has issued new directives for funerals during Covid-19 and all members will guide families through the necessary arrangements.
At this unprecedented time, the association has been inundated with calls from anxious bereaved families asking for advice about the burial and cremation of their loved ones. And, more distressingly, the fitting goodbye which they feel their loved one is entitled to, irrespective of the current crisis.
Whilst the association members have been doing their best to allay fears for families, the reality is that they must adhere to guidance from the authorities in how to handle a funeral in what is unchartered territory for us all.
Guidance form Health Service Executive (HSE) advises that:
Funerals can be held privately behind closed doors.
There should be no public advertisement of funeral arrangements in print or online but death notices can be placed without arrangements.
Families can advise friends and relations privately of funeral arrangements.
There should be no provision for condolences book and pen at the funeral and public reposing must be discouraged as should funeral home gatherings.
Family gatherings should be by invite only. Social distancing must be maintained with no handshaking or hugging.
Donegal Town undertaker Enda Faulkner said: “Due to circumstances we have to notify people to stay away from wakes but we tell people that they can have a memorial Mass at a later date. People will have a chance to pay their respects to the family when this is over.
“I know this is hard for families. The wake helps you grieve as people reminisce and talk about their loved ones.”
There are even stricter guidelines in place in cases where the deceased had Covid-19.
Mr Faulkner said: “We will treat your family member as best we can within the Covid-19 guidelines that we are obliged to follow.
“We are working for the family and we will do the best we can for them in these difficult times.”
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