Dear Funeral Director,
Re: COVID-19 Coronavirus
I am writing to confirm our approach to managing the current Coronavirus pandemic and how this affects burial and cremation services provided by the council. Firstly I would like to reassure you that we have well developed plans in place for these types of situations and are meeting regularly with colleagues from the coroners and registration services, public health, UHL NHS Trust and other emergency services.
Our approach is guided by the Government’s current guidance and our primary aim is to ensure that we can continue to provide burial and cremation services throughout this unprecedented and challenging time, and I am confident that with your support we will achieve this. Inevitably though this will require adopting some different ways of working. We are taking a phased approach to this as the situation and Government advice changes
I will outline below the measures that we are implementing with immediate effect and beginning next week.
Bereavement Services Office With immediate effect
• We have closed the office reception (rear of building) to all visitors, except to those making funeral arrangements and transferring grave ownership, however an appointment is now needed. Appointments must be pre-booked by calling the office on 0116 373 7327 please do not send any customers directly to the office without an appointment as they will not be seen. For your staff the office remains open for all funeral matters but access is restricted. Please use the front of the building.
Gilroes Crematorium With immediate effect
- We are suspending all witnessed viewings in the crematory. Witnessed cremations are now restricted to the viewing room only and limited to immediate next of kin only (Deceased’s spouse, parents or children).
- We are suspending the scattering of cremated remains by crematorium staff with relatives present. Scattering remains with no relatives can continue.
- We will be undertaking additional cleaning in all public areas with an additional member of staff.
From Monday 23rd March
- We will be reducing chapel seating capacity by 50% to provide greater distance between mourners.
- We will be removing all hymn and service books from the chapels to prevent contact contamination, please take this into consideration when making funeral service arrangements.
With immediate effect
• We are suspending the purchase of graves in advance. Graves will be allocated at the point of need for a burial.
Bereavement Services, Gilroes Crematorium, Groby Road, Leicester, LE3 9QG www.leicester.gov.uk
- We are suspending appointments for members of the public to select/locate a grave or select/locate a memorial in the cemetery grounds with a staff member.
- We are suspending all volunteer activities and Welford Road Cemetery visitor centre will remain shut until further notice.
From Monday 23rd March
- We will be reducing chapel seating capacity by 50% to provide greater distance between mourners at saffron Hill Cemetery.
- We will be removing all hymn and service books from the chapel to prevent contact contamination, please take this into consideration when making funeral service arrangements.
The Government have published guidance related to social gatherings, social distancing, non-essential travel and self-isolation on the website www.gov.uk please check this for the very latest Government advice.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly should you have any questions. Yours faithfully,
Alan Brown MICCM (Dip) Bereavement Services Manager