Following the latest Government update, which saw a slight ease of some restrictions, Sheffield City Council has today introduced changes to funeral services in the city.
This includes an increase in the number of mourners, a reduction in the length of service and a reduction in the total cost.
Whether a service is for a cremation or burial, up to 10 mourners will now be allowed to join the funeral service, with strict social distancing measures in place.
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “My sincere condolences go to all those who have lost a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic, and have not been able to mourn or celebrate their life in the traditional way.
“The restrictions we’ve had to place on our funeral services have been one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to make.
“Throughout, we’ve prioritised the safety and wellbeing of mourners, our staff and staff from our funeral directors, as well as fulfilling our duty to limit the spread of coronavirus.
“The Government’s guidance on attending funerals has not changed, but the wider easing of some restrictions, means we now believe an easing of the numbers of funeral attendees should follow. We have reviewed our policy and are confident that we can now safely increase the number of mourners to ten.
“It remains clear that the more social contact there is, the greater the risk of transmission is, so we are asking that families still consider restricting numbers at funerals to as few as possible and we will continue to monitor the situation.”
The guidance on funerals stresses that by following these precautions funeral workers and mourners can safely respect and maintain the dignity of the deceased.
If the deceased has neither household or family members in attendance, then it is possible for a modest number of friends to attend but again this must be restricted to no more than ten people.
Due to an increase in waiting time for funerals, each funeral service will now be reduced from 45 minutes to 30 minutes. The associated costs have been reduced to reflect this change.
The total cost of all cremation services has been reduced by £50.
Councillor Lea added: “Waiting for a funeral can be very distressing so we have reduced the length of service to help alleviate any delays.
“In recognition of this change we are also reducing the cost of each service.
“I know it’s extremely hard to find comfort during these difficult times, particularly if you are experiencing a bereavement, and I hope that these changes contribute in some small way to making this process easier for those who are grieving.”
The council extends condolences to all bereaved families in Sheffield who have suffered the loss of a loved one during this extraordinary period, and sincere thanks for adhering to the measures put in place.
The changes are effective from Monday 18 May, for new and existing bookings.
Mourners attending a funeral service can be from different households, but where this is the case the two metre social distance rule must be adhered to.
For those who are unable to attend, Hutcliffe Wood and City Road chapels are now offering a live webcast of the funeral service free of charge (this arrangement should be discussed with your Funeral Director).
Any individual displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should follow the Government guidelines to stay at home and should not attend a funeral service.
Anyone with queries relating to a funeral service should direct these through their chosen funeral director who will work closely with the council’s cemeteries and crematoria service.