COVID-19: Info for funeral directors and mourners
During COVID-19, we want to reassure you that our priority is to continue to provide the highest standards of service while protecting the health and wellbeing of the bereaved, our staff, your staff, you and the public at large.
Please read our information and support for St Helens residents who are experiencing bereavement or loss during the pandemic. This information will help residents experiencing a bereavement at this time.
We have carried out significant risk assessments to ensure we can maintain our service to the best level we can and will continue to make decisions based on guidance and updates from Government and Public Health.
It is vital that we work together to deliver this consistent message so bereaved families can take some comfort of exactly what to expect at this most difficult of times.
We have had to make some very difficult decisions in order to maintain respect and dignity for the deceased, while simultaneously protecting the health and safety of all concerned.
Until further notice, the following measures have been put in place at St Helens Crematorium:
- Face coverings are required at all funerals taking place indoors for all members of the funeral party (this includes mourners, funeral directors, bearers, officiants, clergy and anyone taking part in the service).
- As per the latest government guidance, from 19th July, the number of attendees at a funeral will be determined by how many people the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. There will no longer be a maximum number of attendees defined in regulations. St Helens Crematorium has undertaken a risk assessment and currently the number of persons allowed into the venue will be 80 people. This will be regularly reviewed.
- Mourners who are self-isolating for 10 days due to someone in their household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), but are not symptomatic themselves, should be facilitated to attend the funeral in person should they wish to do so, with processes put in place to minimise the risk of transmission.
- Mourners who are clinically vulnerable or in a shielded group should also be facilitated to attend, with processes put in place to minimise the risk of transmission.
- Any mourner who is showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms (a new continuous cough or a high temperature) should not attend the funeral as they pose a risk to others; remote participation should be considered. A web stream is available at the request of the Applicant for Cremation.
- On arrival at the crematorium, mourners are requested to wait outside respecting social distancing. Chapel doors will be locked until it is free for the next service to start.
- Hand sanitiser is placed on every public entrance to the building; signs will be in place stating anyone entering will be required to clean hands. Hand washing facilities are available in the toilets located in the waiting room and exit hall areas.
- No-one will be allowed to enter the chapel until asked to do so by our chapel attendant. Once services commence, only the funeral director will be permitted to stay in the chapel. Funeral directors and officiants must not enter the Crematorium Committal Room.
- Crematorium teams will open and close the chapel doors, thereby restricting the number of people touching the handles.
- In between services, the hard surfaces in the chapel will be wiped down with suitable cleaning equipment by the crematorium staff. This will include chair tops, pews, door handles, catafalque top and toilets etc.
- Mourners will be seated so that individuals are a distance away from each other, in family groups or support bubbles.
- The curtains are closed following committal of the deceased. Please discourage mourners from touching or kissing the coffin during the service.
- Open coffin services will not be permitted during this time.
- All coffins must be closed when they arrive at the Crematorium or Cemetery and must remain closed at all times.
- Funeral directors are asked to use a wheeled bier where possible to prevent bearers being too close together, but we are still allowing funeral directors or families to carry coffins to the catafalque.
- Funeral directors and bearers should leave the service via the chapel door.
- We will not be providing drinks to any visitors for the foreseeable future, including funeral directors.
- We are removing all service books, hymn books, bibles etc.
- Funeral directors must supply service sheets/orders of service for their clients, if required. All service sheets are to be taken away at the end of the service.
- Funeral directors are asked to only visit our crematorium offices to collect ashes, an appointment must be made in advance of this and all other communication must be email or telephone.
- Full cremation paperwork must be received by the crematorium 48 hours before a service this can be posted in the letterbox available.
- The use of electronic forms is encouraged as much as possible. Care must be taken to ensure that information is shared in a way that is GDPR-compliant.
- Our offices will remain closed until further notice.
- Forms should be dropped off by posting through the letterbox or postbox rather than being taken into the office.
- Cremated remains will only be returned to funeral directors at this time. Funeral directors should call ahead and notify the crematorium when they wish to collect them.
The above guidelines will be reviewed in line with the publication of government guidelines.
Useful Documents for Funeral Directors
Below you will find copies of day-to-day documents that funeral directors will find useful for burials and cremations at St Helens and Newton-le-Willows Cemetery and St Helens Crematorium.
St Helens Crematorium Instruction for cremation
Cremation form 1 - The Application
Cremation form 3 - Application for cremation of stillborn baby
Cremation form 4 - Medical Certificate
Cremation form 5 - Confirmatory medical certificate
Webcasting consent form
Change of instruction form - New Authority
COVID-19 - supplementary paperwork form
Choices after cremation booklet
Test and trace form
St Helens and Newton Cemetery Notice of Interment
Use of St Helens Crematorium Chapel before burial form
Test and Trace form
Grave Purchase forms
Extended Garden form
Burial grave purchase form
Children's grave purchase form
Cremation grave purchase form - Newton-le-Willows
Cremation grave purchase form - St Helens
Grave ownership booklet