When a Loved One Dies During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an unprecedented impact on how we live and work, limiting our ability to interact with others and freely move about within our community. Tragically, it is also affecting our ability to pay tribute to loved ones who have died.
As our situation continues to change, we continue to adapt our practices and policies to keep everyone safe while at the same time ensuring we are meeting the needs of our grieving families.
As we continue to welcome the families we serve to gather and pay tribute to their loved ones, our most recent mandate as of September 14th from the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is as follows -
Proof of Vaccination Requirement for Funerals -
On Sept. 14, 2021, the government released regulations and guidance for businesses and organizations to support them in implementing proof of vaccination requirements for patrons.
This Notice to the Profession provides guidance regarding how these requirements apply to the bereavement sector.
Proof of vaccination requirements do not apply to:
- Funeral services including rites, ceremonies, visitations, receptions, or social gatherings held in places of worship.
- Funeral services including rites, ceremonies, visitations, receptions, or social gatherings held in funeral establishments, cemeteries, crematoriums, and similar establishments that provide bereavement services and are licensed to operate under the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002.
- Funeral services conducted in any indoor setting, limited to the actual funeral rites or ceremonies, but not an associated social gathering or reception. These settings can include any meeting or event space, conference centre, or convention centre.
Proof of vaccination requirements apply to social gatherings or receptions associated with a funeral service, rite, or ceremony in a meeting or event space, conference centre, or convention centre.
Additional information in these Government of Ontario links:
- Ontario Regulation
- Sept. 14 News Release
- Sept. 14 Backgrounder/FAQ PDF
- Sept. 14 Ministry of Health Guidance document PDF
-Carey Smith, CEO/Registrar
Measures from the previous Registrar’s Directive remain in place:
Registrar’s Directive: Capacity limits removed; Physical distancing, mask-wearing requirements remain
The BAO is issuing this Registrar’s Directive in alignment with the Government of Ontario’s Step Three of its Roadmap to Reopen announcement.
For the benefit of family members and friends who may not be able to attend funeral services, we continue to offer live streaming at the request of all families we serve. It is our hope that by doing so, those absent can feel connected from the comfort and safety of their homes.
To assist in honouring your loved one, or to support someone who has experienced the death of a family member or friend during these difficult times, we invite you to review these articles below, which we are hopeful you will find beneficial.
Funerals In A Time Of Coronavirus: Thoughts For Families
Needless to say, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 is a challenging time for everyone. But if someone you love has died, it is likely that the current social distancing orders and travel restrictions are making funeral planning especially difficult for your family.
Supporting Friends & Family When a Funeral Isn't Possible
As you can imagine, not having the opportunity to hold a traditional funeral or memorial service can be very difficult for family and friends who would benefit from gathering and receiving the support of others as they begin the grief journey. Fortunately, there are still ways you can support them.
How to Talk to Children About the Coronavirus Pandemic
The youngest among us are not immune to all of this stress. They sense it in the adults around them, and they see it on social media and other sources of information. Their own day-to-day routines have been completely disrupted.
Coronavirus and the Six Needs of Mourning
Grief is everything we think and feel inside of us whenever our attachments are threatened, harmed, or severed. We experience shock and disbelief. We are anxious, which is a form of fear. We become sad and possibly lonely. We get angry. We feel guilty or regretful. The sum total of all these and any other thoughts and feelings we are experiencing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is our grief.
Nurturing Hope In Difficult Times
“Hope is the pillar that holds up the world.” — Pliny the Elder
The caller to the Center for Loss asked a question that is on the hearts of many right now: “Are we going to get through this?”
It became obvious as the conversation continued that she was experiencing feelings of grief and in search of borrowing some much-needed hope. As I hung up the phone after 20 minutes, I found myself yearning to write about hope, because, especially during difficult times like these, it is indeed the pillar that holds up the world.
Loss In A Pandemic: Supporting Grievers
The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, presents many unique challenges for those who are grieving. Whether their loved one died of complications of coronavirus or through any other means, bereaved persons are now making difficult decisions about funerary services in a time of social distancing, often after experiencing little or no time with their loved one in their final days as a result of new visitation limitations in place at health care and hospice facilities.