Saturday 30th May 2020
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Sadly, many people will lose family members during the coronavirus crisis. We've put together some guidance if you need to attend a funeral.

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What you need to know

In order to protect vulnerable groups and key workers from transmission of coronavirus, Luton is following the latest government advice relating to attendance at funerals.
 
Sadly, attendance at all funerals in Luton must currently be limited to the following immediate family members:
  • spouse or partner
  • parents or carers
  • brothers and sisters
  • children, and their partners
With regret, no more than 20 mourners may now attend any funeral in Luton.
 
If the deceased has no household or immediate family members in attendance, then a small number of friends may attend.

Hand hygiene

Mourners should follow the advice on hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infection:
  • wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water
  • particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so
  • use hand sanitiser if that's all you have access to, and wash your hands with soap and hot water as soon as you can

Minimise contact

Mourners should minimise any direct face to face or physical contact, for example hugging each other. This is unless they're part of the same household, as they've already been living in the same house as each other.

Reduce the spread of germs

To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with:
  • a tissue
  • your sleeve (not your hands) if you don't have a tissue
Throw away the tissue immediately, then wash your hands or use a sanitising gel.

Social distancing

Mourners must also follow the national advice on social distancing. Unless you are living in the same house as each other, you must stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other mourners at all times, including in chapel, at the graveside and travelling to and from a funeral.
 
We appreciate your support for these measures at this extremely difficult time, and will continue to review funeral arrangements in line with the latest government advice.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus

Mourners who are unwell with the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), or are part of a household with possible coronavirus infection, must not participate in funerals as they:
  • may infect others
  • should be isolating at home

How can funerals be as safe as possible?

  • Travel to a funeral with people you live with. Don’t share cars with people you don’t live with.
  • Some funeral directors may say they would wish for less than 20 mourners to attend.
  • Unless you already live in the same house as someone, keep at least 2 metres apart at all times. Do not hug or shake hands with others.
  • If someone vulnerable wants to attend a funeral (such as someone who is aged over 70 years, has heart disease, diabetes or lung disease), then you must be especially careful. Stay in a separate area away from other people. Travel to a funeral in a private car, not public transport, and only with people that you live with. Think about arriving and leaving early, before the other people get there, to reduce the risk of catching or spreading disease.
  • Mourners should not visit the house of people who have lost someone – use the telephone, email, or video-call them instead.
  • To keep vulnerable people safe, if you have travelled to the funeral from a long way, do not visit or stay overnight in households with elderly residents.
  • Don’t have a big meal with people outside your house – you could donate money to a food bank instead, or to a local charity.
  • Vulnerable people (the elderly or those with underlying conditions like heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or cancer) should not be involved with washing a deceased person, or dressing a deceased person before they are buried.
  • Anyone involved with washing or dressing a deceased person before they are buried must wear protective equipment and be supervised by a professional funeral director who knows how to keep safe.
  • Think about recording or livestreaming a funeral to share with those who want to be there but are keeping everyone safe by staying away. Contact The Vale for details about this service.
  • Clean your phone after you get home from the funeral.

The Vale Cemetery and Crematorium: what you need to know.

Please note that reception and offices at The Vale Crematorium and Cemetery are currently closed to visits by members of the public. All inquiries can be made by telephoning 01582 723700 or emailing the crematorium.

 

Acting on updated government guidance, cemetery grounds in Luton are again open.​

Can I visit the cemetery?

The Vale is now open so that people can visit the grave of their loved one. To stay safe when visiting the cemetery, you must still follow social distancing:
  • visit the cemetery alone or only with people you already live with
  • don’t meet up with other people at the cemetery – if lots of family want to go, talk about what time each household will visit so you don’t overlap
  • if you see a funeral happening when you are in The Vale, please respect the safety of others and do not try and join them, even if it’s someone you know
  • wash your hands with soap and water before going to the cemetery and after you get home

Support with funeral costs

Financial support is available to help families on certain benefits to meet the costs of funeral expenses such as coffins and funeral directors. In response to the coronavirus outbreak the government has announced an increase of the financial support available from £700 to £1,000.
 

Funeral charges at The Vale

Funeral costs can vary considerably dependent on the wishes of the deceased and the relatives. Funeral directors have a range of options available for families to consider.
 
 
Charges at The Vale form only part of the costs of a funeral but are already among the lowest in the country. In recognition of the impact of Covid-19, the following additional changes have also been made.
  • Additional charges for weekend and bank holiday funerals have been withdrawn with effect from 9 April 2020 - this is a reduction of £300 for a burial and £200 for a cremation.
  • Where there is more than one coronavirus related death in a household within six weeks, the internment fee for the second burial or cremation will be waived. This is a reduction of £775 for a burial and £140 for a cremation.
Eligibility for the above reductions will be confirmed by information provided by the funeral director or the household.
 
Please note that normal plot charges will still have to apply.

Public Health funerals

Sadly there may be occasions following a death in the community when no next-of-kin can be found and there is no will. Here there is a requirement for the council to step in.
 
While these burials may take some time to organise while a search for next-of-kin takes place, they are designed to be dignified and appropriate.
 
Further information can be found on our Public Health funerals information page.
 

​​Are there any changes to certifying and registering deaths?

To register a death, you need to book a telephone appointment with the register office. To do so, please make a booking online and a registrar will call you at your appointment time to register.
 
Alternatively, contact our customer service centre on 0300 790 0341 and they will help to make the appointment for you.

Further information

 
 
 
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