Because of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) we have put in place certain restrictions for funerals after careful consideration of Government and Public Health England advice.
Restrictions for funeral services
These restrictions currently apply:
- a maximum of 10 mourners may attend a funeral
- funeral services can only take place at cemeteries or crematorium
- mourners must observe social distancing of at least 2 metres (3 steps) at all times, including when travelling to and from the funeral
- temporary suspension of the burial of ashes, scattering of ashes and temporary closure of the halls of remembrance
Cemetery protocols and procedures
Mourners must arrive at the same time and follow behind the hearse observing social distancing rules (stand 2 meters apart).
You must register the death for the body to be released for burial.
Why the numbers of mourners have been restricted
Large numbers of people attending funerals and gatherings spreads the virus as different households mix. This is particularly risky if people are living in households with multiple generations.
People over 70 and those with underlying health conditions are at increased risk of infection from Coronavirus, experience more severe symptoms and are more likely to require hospital treatment.
Unless it is for a specific reason, it is vital that we all stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives. If the deceased has neither household or family members in attendance, then it is possible for up to 5 friends to attend who must practice social distancing.
Government rules on social distancing
All gatherings of more than two people in public have been stopped with the exception of funerals. When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people in our family and community we reduce the spread of the infection and transmission of the virus.
Changes to Muslim funerals
Performing the Ghusl
When performing the Ghusl you should make sure that:
- contact with the body such as washing, preparation or dressing should be restricted to those who are wearing PPE and have been trained in the appropriate use of PPE
- vulnerable people and those people with underlying health conditions are strongly advised that they have no contact with the body
Funeral Prayer (Janazah Salaah)
When performing the Janazah Salaah you must make sure that:
- the funeral prayer must only take place at the cemetery at the grave site
- the Imam should lead the Salaah (observing the minimum requirements) and all in attendance should stand behind, observing social distancing
- after the Janazah Salaah, the deceased should be buried immediately
- only those lowering the body should be at the side of the grave, everyone else should maintain adequate distancing
- the deceased should be buried in a coffin with a nameplate
Contacting the Funeral Director
You should contact your Funeral Director as soon as possible about the death and burial so they can start preparations and timetable you into their schedule. Tell them you are looking for a short notice burial according to Islamic tradition and in the Muslim section of the cemetery.
Backfilling of the grave
As long as social distancing is observed, the family can:
- back fill the grave
- shape the grave
- conclude the final religious rites
Use of mechanical diggers to fill the grave
We are working to increase the number of diggers available for filling all required graves, including for Muslim burials. We will ensure that all graves are filled in as soon as possible and this will always be on the same day.
Unfortunately we cannot supply PPE from either the council or the NHS. It is limited and allocated to secondary, primary and social care as appropriate.