New COVID Normal
2020 has been a year. There is no doubt that for all of us, our normal has changed. The way we interact with each other, our focus on our own health and wellbeing, and how we connect, has all changed. A new normal is emerging and that is having an impact on just about every industry, government and person across the globe.
In the funeral industry, we have seen a significant shift toward technology to enable people to participate in a funeral service in so many different ways, that up until this point, seemed unnecessary. Whilst we have had these things available for quite some time, the uptake through COVID-19 has increased their efficacy and usage.
Restrictions on funerals meant that we needed to employ different ways of doing things. From arrangements via Zoom, Live Streaming Funeral Services, pre-recorded Video Eulogies and Tributes, right through to contactless delivery of Ashes and Death Certificates. Everything we knew and the way we did things up until this point had to change.
With change comes fear, that is a natural response, add in a global pandemic and fear becomes a driving factor in the way things are done. I think though that in this particular circumstance, fear has also driven innovation and has allowed us to explore new ways of serving our families and our communities.
Current Restrictions On Funerals
At the time of publishing this blog (4th November 2020), the current funeral restrictions included:
- Funerals conducted in a professional venue may be attended by a maximum of 100 people irrespective of the size of the venue. These facilities must have an approved COVID Safe Plan. This includes the Funeral Staff and Officiant. Generally COVID Safe Plan’s allow for approximately 50 people inside a chapel and 50 people outside a chapel, however this is dependant on the size of the facility and is based on the social distancing requirements that make up part of the COVID Safe Plan for that venue.
- Private ceremonies performed in public areas and spaces can have a maximum of 40 people attend including the service director.
- It is important if you are unwell, that you do not go to a funeral.
- A record of names and contact details of each guest must be kept for 56 days to assist in contact tracing.
These restrictions are aligned to Stage 5 Restrictions in QLD.
What Can We Do To Include More People In The Funeral?
There are a number of ways that people are able to participate in a Funeral under the current restrictions. Technology has leapt into the Funeral Industry and we have seen a massive uptake and a new way of holding a modern funeral service. Let’s take a look at a few of the obvious, and some not so obvious ways to participate with our new COVID normal.
This one is a no brainer, almost every funeral chapel across Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast have the ability to live stream a service. We also have a number of companies who provide professional live stream services that enable our team to have a funeral live streamed around the world, regardless of the location of the service.
Pre-Recorded Eulogies and Tributes
Pre-Recording a Eulogy or Tribute has been a fantastic way for people to participate who can’t be at the service in person. We have seen some wonderful video recordings of Eulogies and Tributes from our friends over the border and from across the pond. Our Team have been working closely with families to ensure that these are filmed in the best possible way and we then use those recorded files and splice them seamlessly into a funeral service. So far, this has been a wonderful addition to some services.
Remote and Satellite Services
With large services, we have been able to arrange for multiple venues to host a funeral simultaneously all over the globe. This means that we have the primary funeral service location, either a chapel or church, and then have a satellite or multiple satellite locations with groups of people all viewing the live stream of the funeral service together. In addition to this we have had pre-recorded eulogies, tributes and messages from these groups included in the service to really make them part of the celebration. At these satellite locations, we have had small tributes set up to represent the person that we are celebrating. Some simple ideas we have seen have been:
- A Printed Canvas;
- Meaningful items such as hats, sporting equipment, vehicles, memorabilia and photos;
- Floral Arrangements;
The possibilities with this are endless and can be as personal and customized to the individual needs of the family at the time.
Some families have opted to repeat the funeral multiple times at different locations. The initial funeral is held, and then some time later the service is repeated at another venue where more people can attend, share their memories and their tributes and be part of a life celebration in a meaningful way.
What About The Future As Restrictions Ease?
No doubt as we continue to get COVID under control and community transmission ceases to be a risk, restrictions will continue to ease and our normal will continue to evolve. We don’t know at this stage if we will ever get back to being restriction free when it comes to funeral’s, or life in general, but the more we all do to reduce the risk and prevent the further spread of COVID, the closer things will get to normal.
If you have questions about current funeral restrictions and COVID, or questions in general, why not get in touch with us on 1300 043 522 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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