New Rules for Ottawa Funeral Homes during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Learn More about Applicable Guidelines and Directives
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a slew of measures by public health authorities to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the disease. Various safety protocols and guidelines are issued for each industry, and funeral homes are no exception. Here are some insights into the new rules for Ottawa funeral homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expedited Death Response Plan: In the early phase of the pandemic, funeral homes had a fixed, accelerated window to collect the body of the deceased. Once contacted, they needed to complete the process within a one-hour period if the collection point is a hospital, and within a 3-hour period for long-term care facilities. Effective June 12, 2020, this process was discontinued. However, if there is an outbreak at the hospital, or a drastic change in the situation, provincial or local public health authorities can issue revised directives and reinstate the expedited death response plan.
Gathering Limits: During the initial months, most Ottawa funeral homes restricted the gathering size to a maximum of 10 people. This harsh but necessary restriction meant that mourning families needed to make the difficult decision of who should attend the funeral and related services to honor the deceased.
With Ontario’s Stage 3 Reopening Plan, some of the initial restrictions were relaxed. The current guidelines allow:
- Indoor Services: There is a limit of 30 percent of the total room capacity for all indoor funeral services, visitations or receptions. Maintaining physical distancing of two-meters between attendees is imperative.
- Outdoor Services: A maximum of 100 attendees permitted for funeral services or related ceremonies and events. Individual cemeteries could add their own rules to limit maximum attendees below this number. Funeral Directors need to have sufficient staff support to oversee that the attendees are practicing physical distancing at all times.
- Food and Beverages: The suggested approach is to offer individually boxed or packaged snack or food, preferably in an outdoor patio/ dining area. Avoid buffet-style service and ensure that seated dining arrangements account for physical distancing between households or social circles.
- Masks: As per the directive from the Bereavement Authority of Ottawa, wearing a mask or face covering remains mandatory for both, attendees and funeral staff inside all funeral establishments in an indoor setting.
At First Memorial Funeral Services, we are following all the public health guidelines for ensuring the health and safety of our guests and staff. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage grieving families to host a celebration of life event at a later date, and use our online funeral arrangement service to conduct a virtual funeral. By choosing this option, your family, and friends from across the world can get a structured platform and opportunity to mourn the deceased. Our compassionate staff can help you complete the entire funeral planning process remotely. We can also organize to send the cremated remains directly to your home.
For further clarification on the new rules for Ottawa funeral homes during COVID-19, call 613-860-2424 or contact us online.