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Devon crematorium brings in new measures for mourners to stop spread of Covid-19

Families may not be able to bear their loved ones coffins. Credit: PA

Families may need to change the way they plan funerals during the coronavirus pandemic to stop spreading the disease to vulnerable people.

Changes include replacing coffin bearers with a trolley, and asking non-family members to watch the service online.

One crematorium in Devon has released new measures to minimise the risk of infection while still being able to provide a service to families during difficult times.

North Devon Crematorium has introduced measures to 'minimise risk'. Credit: North Devon Crematorium

The North Devon Crematorium has said it understands families may be 'distressed' at the sudden change to the personal service, but it has had to take action to help slow the spread of cases.

They added that if the situation worsens, more restrictions may need to be put in place.

We realise that the measures we are taking will cause families some distress as they won't be able to say goodbye to their loved ones in the way they would like to. We hope that people will understand that we are having to take these unprecedented steps in order to prevent the spread of the virus and to ensure we have enough capacity for the sad and anticipated increase in the number of deaths over the coming few months.

As the crisis develops, stricter measures may become necessary but we will try to act proportionately to the risks and demand on our services.

– Mark Drummond, Bereavement Services Manager

A full list of the measures being introduced:

  • Stopping coffin bearing which will be replaced with a hydraulic trolley
  • Removing hymn books and playing hymns from a television screen
  • Closing the chapel doors straight after committal to prevent touching of the coffin at the end of the service
  • Encouraging families to reduce the number of people attending services
  • Removing some seating to allow chairs to be spread further apart
  • Asking people to leave paperwork in a postbox rather than come into the office
  • Bookings being taken no more than two weeks ahead
  • Prohibiting anyone self-isolating, or who has a cough, fever or shortness of breath from entering any of the buildings
  • Encouraging people over 70 or anyone with underlying health conditions to not attend services
  • Encouraging mourners who aren't immediate family or friends to watch the service via the internet

People are asked to check the council's website for the latest information.

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