Funeral directors tighten restrictions due to coronavirus

Funeral directors are tightening restrictions across the region due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the guidelines from the Scottish and UK governments.

Funeral directors across the Borders are changing the ways in which its services are carried out during the coronavirus lockdown.
Funeral directors across the Borders are changing the ways in which its services are carried out during the coronavirus lockdown.

William Purves has an office in Peebles and also owns the John Beattie and Sons business in Hawick, David Hardie and Sons in Galashiels and Oliver and Sons in Jedburgh.

New measures have been put in place, with temporary restricted access to the public, with all funeral arrangements being handled remotely by video call or telephone.

Also, attendance at funeral services will be restricted to close family members – with social distancing being in effect and live video links or recordings provided as an alternative.

Home visits are not currently being offered, but the teams at both offices will be communicating with families and providing every support possible.

To stop the spread of the virus, the use of company limousines is not provided, instead, family have the option of the hearse going home and family following, or alternatively meeting the hearse at the crematorium or cemetery.

Embalming and viewings are still permitted with viewings taking place in-branch and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Spokesman Robert Pollok from John Beattie and Sons said: “While we are having to change how we would normally support families throughout the loss of a loved one, we are nonetheless fully committed to providing a first-class service within the confines of current legislation.

“Our role is to ensure that loved ones get the send-off they deserve and their families get to share in a celebration of their life.

“It may not be what we envisaged a month or even last week, but it is the new reality and we are ensuring we carry our families’ wishes respectfully in line with government guidelines.

“We know saying goodbye to a loved one is hard at the best of times and we fully realise the impact these restrictions will have on families.

“Crucially, we are here 24/7 for anyone who needs us, and our staff are working round the clock so that we can continue to carry out our services safely.”

The message was echoed by David Hardie & Son manager, Leslie Stewart, who said: “We operate on-call 24/7, 365 days a year and are primed to work around the clock to serve Gala and surrounding areas and enable families to say goodbye to their loved ones in a safe manner.

“Our team is well-equipped with all the appropriate safety clothing and we have access to a stock of coffins and a mortuary facility should the situation worsen.

“We will be there to provide support throughout and will work with families to help coordinate services even if this means delaying the key celebration of life element that is central to so many funeral services.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation and the guidance coming from the UK and Scottish Governments as well as our governing body, the National Association of Funeral Directors.”