Managing our funeral services in the current Covid-19 environment

Update – Level 2

New Zealand is currently at Covid-19 alert level 2. At higher alert levels there has been widespread acknowledgement of how vital it is for families to be able to gather and support each other when a loved one dies. For this reason, funeral gatherings of up to 50 people are now permitted, provided certain requirements are met. At Rowley’s we strongly believe in the value to the community of holding a funeral, so we will work closely with you to ensure the funeral is a meaningful opportunity to farewell your loved one, as well as meeting the obligations under the alert level 2 guidelines.

Funeral Services

You have several options when planning the funeral at this alert level

  1. A funeral can be held now with a maximum of 50 people present

    The service can include all the elements of a regular funeral such as music, photo tributes, service sheets, speakers etc; a burial or cremation can take place following.

    Level 2 has some additional requirements:

    • The funeral should be a private, by-invitation event rather publicly advertised.
    • We will ask you to provide the contact details for up to 50 attendees 48 hours prior to the service.
    • Anyone who is unwell should not attend.
    • Those attending should follow the physical distancing and hygiene guidelines we are all becoming very familiar with.
    • A reception following the service can be held but groups of people will need to remain physically separate from each other.
  2. A funeral can be delayed until the alert level reduces

    We can embalm your loved one now and take care of them until a larger funeral followed by burial or cremation can be held. We will work with you during the interim period to plan the funeral for a later date.

  3. A memorial service can be held later

    This means burial or cremation can take place now and a larger memorial service can be held later. This might be particularly appropriate if you are waiting for people to be able to travel from overseas.

We encourage you to discuss your individual requirements with us so we can assist you with creating an appropriate opportunity to remember and farewell the person who has died.

Our Process

We take the health and wellbeing of our client families and our staff very seriously and so will continue with many of the processes in place at higher alert levels.

First Call

When someone dies and you make the first call to us, we will explain the next steps, including any changes because of the current alert level. We are likely to ask you about whether anyone associated with the death has any Covid-19 connection. We will also help you with information about how we will transfer your loved one into our care, viewing possibilities, the funeral arrangement and funeral options.

Transfer

We will carefully explain to you what is going to happen. When we arrive, our staff may don personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gown and mask in order to protect themselves and others. In line with the Ministry of Health guidelines we will maintain physical distance from you and may request you are not present in the room when we move your loved one.

Funeral Arrangement

In order to protect the families we assist and our staff at the current alert level, we are conducting arrangements remotely using technology (Zoom, Skype, Facetime, phone and email). Again, we will take our time to explain things and work with you to address the challenges this new environment presents.

Viewing

Viewing by appointment is more widely permitted under level 2. Viewing can also now take place at your home or in a church setting provided the level 2 guidelines are followed. Your funeral director will discuss timings with you and will collect contact details for everyone coming to view at our premises in case the information is needed later for contact tracing purposes.

Questions

There is little doubt we are living in an unprecedented time for our community. We are committed to providing families with great service as we all adjust to living life in a new way. Please understand there may be changes to our usual practices as we move through the alert levels. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how your specific funeral might be affected, please contact our office so we can assist you.

Please take care and look out for each other so we can minimise the risks to you and your family.

If you or your family have immediate concerns relating to Covid-19, please visit the Ministry website here or call the dedicated Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

Thank you
Rowley Funeral Services
(Updated 14 May 2020)