The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way we live our lives as families, individuals, communities and the way we operate as organisations.
The decisions we have made and the processes we put in place are having to change quickly to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep the rate of infection low.
Sadly, people have already lost their lives, and more are likely to do so.
Since the Government has revised the guidance on gatherings due to a reduction in the infection rate in the UK, the Greater Manchester Cemeteries and Crematoria have been able to look at each area locally to increase mourner numbers and implement a seating plan that is risk based for each facility depending on the size of their chapels.
Guidance is still to maintain a safe distance of at least 2 metres (6ft) between individuals, see the government’s funeral guidance below:
Those organising a funeral should adhere to the following advice:
- restrict the number of mourners who attend so that a safe distance of at least 2 metres (6 ft) can be maintained between individuals
- the size and circumstance of the venue will determine the maximum number that can be accommodated whilst also facilitating social distancing, but numbers should be minimised as far as possible. Venue managers may set caps on numbers in order to ensure this
- only the following should attend, alongside the Funeral Director, Chapel Attendant, and funeral staff:
- members of the person’s household
- close family members
- or if the above are unable to attend, close friends
- attendance of a celebrant of choice, should the bereaved request this
- mourners who attend should be signposted to the advice on social distancing and that they should not attend the funeral if they are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
In line with the Government’s guidance we may also be asked to give the name and address of the lead member of the funeral, usually the applicant or next of kin, to the NHS Test and Trace team if we are contacted.
It is also worth noting that should the infection rate rise in any area, to an unacceptable level, we may be told to revert into a previous lockdown situation and the numbers attending Funerals will be reduced.
This is one of the most difficult and painful things we have dealt with, and we must remember that the coronavirus is still in circulation and that life has not returned to normal as we know it, we will continue to remain at two metre distance where possible.
We recognise the significance and importance of ensuring that the end of life and funeral process is just as important and special as it would be in other times and we are making every effort to respect peoples wishes and beliefs.
We have been working with partners and communities to develop a process that considers the wishes of individuals, families and loved ones whilst carefully balancing these against the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in the care at the final stages of a person’s life, including the funeral process.
These difficult decisions come as part of government response to coronavirus.
Any family members from the same household as the deceased should not attend but remain in self-isolation (unless 14 days have lapsed since the first case).
No one with coronavirus symptoms or who is extremely vulnerable should attend.
We are aware that this will have an impact on families who are themselves in isolation and therefore unable to attend funerals or cremations and we have created a bereavement page to assist where possible.
People attending a funeral must maintain a social distance of two metres from each other (unless from the same household or support bubble) and two metres from Funeral Directors, Officiants, Crematorium and Cemetery staff.
We are working closely with funeral directors, ministers and clergy and we will ensure that changes are dealt with in the most respectful way.
We know some people are suffering financially so we have brought in several measures so we can help you out.
Burials and Crematoria services is one of the areas we’ve looked at. We froze our fees and charges for the cost of burials (interments) and cremations and, from April to the end of September 2020, reduced them by £100.
Services at Hollinwood Crematorium Chapel
Mourners who can attend a service in Hollinwood Crematorium Chapel with a safe distance of two metres, will be a maximum of 22 people with effect from 8 July.
The front pew at Hollinwood Chapel will be reserved for 4 immediate family members from the same household or support bubble who can sit together, the rest of the chapel will be available for 18 people.
Chapel services prior to burial and extended Chapel services will be resumed from 8 July.
Service books remain removed from the chapel to prevent any cross contamination and hand shaking is also being discouraged with ministers, celebrants and funeral directors until further notice.
Order of service and flowers can be brought to the chapel but must be taken away at the end of the service.
Musicians must be asked to play instruments outside and not in the Chapel.
Singing is currently prohibited in line with Government recommendations.
The one-way system of entry and exit to the Chapel will continue.
In-between services at the Chapel, additional cleaning processes are in place to ensure all public areas are disinfected.
Hand sanitiser is available to all mourners in the Chapel.
Mourners attending a funeral service in the Chapel should consider wearing a face covering as an additional precaution.
We will continue to provide the option to watch the funeral service live, via a web cast link, at no cost, please ask your Funeral Director for further details.
No one is being permitted in the operational areas of the crematorium, the waiting area or beyond the reception at the office.
Outside funeral prayers and grave side services will be limited to a maximum of 30 people in line with Government guidance.
Burial and scattering of cremated remains can now be resumed.
Mourners are also being encouraged to wait in their cars or outside the chapel ahead of services, as the waiting area remains closed at this time.
St Paul’s Cathedral have set up an online Book of Remembrance for those people who have died of coronavirus, if your relative has died from the virus you can enter their details here:
If you would like to find out more about headstones or memorials in Oldham’s crematorium and cemeteries, please contact the cemetery office on:
- 0161 681 1312 or by email at:
Please remember the office is currently closed to visitors, but we will do all we can to assist you, online or by phone.