How will the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions announced by the Australian government affect funerals?
Taree's Beckers Family Funerals is asking people to limit funeral attendance to the most important family members and closest friends, to limit possible exposure and spread of the virus.
Funeral homes know just how important a formal farewell is to immediate family, relatives and friends but in the current circumstances, they must take direction from the authorities, Chris Becker said.
Funeral homes are being fully updated by the Funeral Directors Association during the course of the current pandemic. "We are following all health and safety procedures thoroughly and are confident in our ability to be responsible members of our community," Chris said.
"Our occupation as funeral directors has always been associated with many physical forms of contact. It is very common to shake many hands and give an embrace.
"So, if you feel this is a time for restraint from such activities we respect and applaud your decision. You will not offend us by refraining from this typical Australian activity for the time being."
Funeral homes are taking precautions such as continually disinfecting all items being used in funeral services and supplying hand sanitiser.
"Now is a time for common sense," Chris said. "If you have underlying health concerns or are an older person who is worried about contracting the virus, please refrain from attending any organised gatherings."
The current Australian directives ban indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and a maximum of 500 for an outdoor venue. Funeral homes must adhere to these rules.
"We will continue to provide the immediate families with all the care and attention that they deserve but we feel there is an overwhelming need to reduce funeral attendance.
"We have been advised that all other funeral activities such as organising the funeral, transferring and caring for the deceased, preparing for the viewing will all continue as normal."
The community will be updated in the event of any changes, Chris said.
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