Coronavirus - funeral information
Find our response to the coronavirus outbreak and how we’re enforcing the new social distancing measures
On this page you will be able to find information around registering deaths and attending funerals during the coronavirus outbreak.
We are extremely sorry for your loss and appreciate this is an incredibly difficult time.
This information is designed to:
- explain the next steps
- answer some of your questions
- signpost you to extra help and support that is available.
Due to the outbreak and the increased pressure on public services, funeral paperwork may take longer than usual to be issued.
If you have a funeral director you wish to use, contact them to arrange for your loved one to be collected.
If not, you can find an industry inspected local funeral director via the:
- National Association of Funeral Directors
- National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors
They can discuss funeral arrangements with you regarding burial or cremation.
Under the new social restrictions, the number of people allowed to attend funerals is restricted.
We understand this means you may not be able to arrange the service that you want, but we would urge you not to delay the funeral.
Instead, consider an alternative such as a memorial service or celebration of life at a later date.
You could also live stream the cremation or burial to allow family members and friends to participate.
Further information is available via the National Association of Funeral Directors website.
While waiting for a burial or cremation, your loved one may be cared for in the temporary mortuary based at Birmingham Airport.
This is not a public building and viewings cannot take place there.
Contact with the person’s body
We know how distressing this must be for you but for your own protection there must be no contact with the body of the person who has died due to the risk of infection to others.
This includes no:
- dressing of the deceased.
It is vital that the person who has died is left as they are, even though this may feel difficult for you.
Funeral directors will be able to carry out religious or cultural funeral rites as they are equipped with appropriate safety and protective equipment.
Registering the death
If a doctor is able to issue medical certificate of cause of death (MCCD) then the death can be registered at the register office where the death occurred.
You don’t need to go to the register office – this can be done by telephone. The registrar can issue paperwork direct to your funeral director.
If a doctor is unable to issue the MCCD then it will be referred to the coroner.
The Office of HM Coroner will call you to discuss further options, but it may take longer than usual.
If your loved one tested positive for coronavirus, or you thought they were coronavirus positive, it is important that anyone who visited them self-isolates for 14 days.
When attending funerals, make sure that:
- social distancing restrictions are followed. Make sure you keep two metres apart from others who don’t live you.
- wash your hands often or use hand sanitiser. You should do this when you blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food
- cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash your hands
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Anyone who attends a funeral must not be:
- showing symptoms of coronavirus
- in the 14 days self-isolation period
- in one of the high risk groups
It is recommended that only immediate family should attend the funeral. In the case of a grandparent’s funeral it is reasonable for grandchildren to attend.
If there are very few or no immediate family it might be possible for a close friend to attend.
Try not to use funeral directors vehicles. If you can’t use another vehicle, make sure then the glass partition between passengers and driver remains in place.
People travelling in the vehicle should be limited to those living in the same home.
We understand that losing a loved one can feel overwhelming, especially if the death was sudden, untimely and unexpected.
There are a number of organisations who can support you and your family during this distressing time, including:
Once again, please accept our sincere condolences for your loss.