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What to do if someone has died during the COVID – 19 outbreak

The advice of the Government to social distance has led many bereaved Scottish families to feel they have to postpone the funeral of a loved one, fearing an “unattended ceremony” with no mourners present to say their goodbyes.

But funerals can go ahead during lockdown

As a charity run funeral directors, Caledonia Cremation will provide care, guidance and emotional support for people who have experienced a bereavement and are worried about organising a funeral in the current climate. Below is some information you may find useful or informative.

Instructions from the Government

The latest news from the government has stated that funerals directors are “key workers” and should continue carrying out funerals with staff instructed to wear Personal Protective Equipment and follow the guidelines set out by Public Health Scotland and the NHS. Caledonia Cremation are taking every possible step to protect our staff, volunteers and those we support and are carefully following all government advice and adding additional precautions.

The Scottish Government has confirmed, from Wednesday 15 July onwards, a maximum – at this stage – of 20 people will be able to attend a funeral wherever it is taking place. They are also removing the restrictions on the categories of people who can attend funerals – in many cases previously attendance was limited to immediate family only.

They stress that these changes apply only to services and ceremonies – other gatherings associated with them, such as funeral wakes, are still subject to the rules that apply for all other indoor and outdoor gatherings.

And secondly, the limit of 20 people is still subject to strict rules on physical distancing – so if the venue that you are having a ceremony or service in can’t accommodate 20 people when physical distancing rules are in place, the number of guests will have to be smaller.

Should I delay the funeral?

There is no set time to how long you can delay a funeral service. However, some funeral homes charge a holding fee if the service does not take place within a specified period. It is possible to hold a cremation or burial not knowing that a celebration of life or memorial will be arranged as soon as possible.

Funeral options during the corona outbreak

Funerals can now go ahead with limited numbers as long as social distancing can be observed. We offer a type of funeral that is particularly safe to hold during the pandemic – it is called direct cremation.

Direct Cremation

A direct cremation is, quite simply, a cremation without a service at the crematorium. A rising number of people choose this as it allows them to say goodbye their way. Losing a loved one is upsetting enough, but for some bereaved families, the pressure of organising a goodbye in 10 days or less is  stressful and doesn’t allow them enough time to organise a ceremony which honours the deceased the way they would like. One well known example is David Bowie who requested a direct cremation for when he passed away, so his ashes could be scattered in a ceremony in Bali at a later date. Karl Lagerfeld also requested a direct cremation.

Caledonia Cremation – a charity run funeral directors

We don’t profit from your loss

It is important to note that direct cremation is not for everyone and we would never want to pressurise anyone into changing their mind. We are run by a charity called Community Renewal and we offer not for profit cremations to anyone living in mainland Scotland. Our number one priority is to provide care, guidance and emotional support for people who are facing these issues right now. If you would like to talk through your options, then please get in touch by calling 03000 113 311 or emailing .

What to do when you lose a loved one – a practical guide

We have also compiled a guide – Doing Death Differently – which explains the choices you have and how and why such funerals can empower you and actually help to make a better send-off overall. It also offers practical advice on the administration involved upon losing a loved one, even for those not having a funeral with Caledonia Cremation.
Click here to read the document

Get in touch

For more information on how to plan a funeral during the outbreak, give us a call on 03000 113 311

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