New Zealand has now entered level 4 of the Covid19 Alert Scale. This means that for at least 4 weeks and possibly longer, funeral services or tangihanga will not be able to take place.
At Eagars we intimately know the value of a funeral and deeply understand that not being able to have one will be very distressing. Ideally, a funeral takes place shortly following a death with the bereaved community gathering to mourn as one, and for generations this has been the case. For now, this cannot be done.
Burials and cremations will still be taking place however family and public may not be present. Only 2 funeral directors may be present with Council staff when this takes place. One of our staff will perform a short committal ceremony should you wish this to be done.
We firmly believe in the value to the community of holding a funeral, which is why our first recommendation if someone you love dies while we are under alert level 4 is to arrange a delayed memorial service. This means that a burial or cremation will take place in the days shortly following death and we will work with you to plan the memorial service for a later date. We will do everything we usually do in guiding you through your options and, when we are able to set a date, will ensure you still remember and mourn appropriately with your community.
OUR PROCESS (updated):
At Eagars we take the health and wellbeing of our staff and client families very seriously. With the current unprecedented measures taking place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), below are the measures we are implementing to support our staff and community.
When someone dies and you make that first call to us, in addition to our usual questions we will ask for confirmation that anybody present has had the opportunity to say their goodbyes as we will require the room/facility to be vacated when we transfer your loved one into our care. This is for the safety of you and our staff.
Our staff will don PPE (gloves and facemask) when they arrive. Please be prepared for this as although you may be clear of the room/facility you may still be on site and see us bringing your loved one into our care. If you are, our staff will also maintain physical distance from you. Additionally, a facemask may be placed on the deceased. This is because air can be exhaled as we transfer onto our stretcher. Due to our requirement to have two staff attend and allow for the doctor to sight the deceased (cremation), all transfers into our care will be between 8.30am and 5pm (7 days). Again, these measures are for the safety of all involved.
We will conduct all arrangements remotely using technology (phone, email, facetime, Skype etc). Any face-to-face meeting (e.g. to sign legal paperwork) will be held at our funeral home only with the primary person responsible and we will observe physical distancing of at least 2 metres. Note that the reason for limiting to one person face-to-face is because we will be spending more than 15 minutes together which is classed as close contact. For the safety of our staff we wish to minimise the number of close contacts.
Viewing of the deceased will not be available while we are at alert level 4.
Funerals cannot take place at this time. At Eagars we have discussed the possibility of holding a service using a digital conferencing platform but have concluded that what makes a funeral is bringing people together. If you’d like to use technology to hold a funeral now then we have the best available to facilitate this, but we would recommend holding a memorial service later.
We are committed to providing our families with great service in the weeks and months ahead but please understand that there may be some changes to our usual practices as the situation changes. If you have any questions or would like to discuss how the situation might affect your specific funeral, please contact our office so we can assist further.
Please take care and look out for each other so we can minimise the risks to you and your family.
Casey and Richard Martin