Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Information for Funeral Clients Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Last Updated: Wednesday 16 September 2020

With the current Coronavirus challenges that we are all facing, King Funerals is committed to keeping up to date with Government regulations, AFDA (Australian Funeral Directors Association) requirements, and our current high standards of procedure. We want to ensure that our staff are looked after and that we are there for families when you need us.

We will continue to monitor guidance from authorities and keep this page and our Facebook page updated with the latest information.

In the meantime, we remain available 24/7 for any further questions or enquiries.

We remain flexible in working with families to give your loved one a funeral they would want and deserve.

What we’re doing to keep you safe…

We are taking the following precautions to help protect the health of families and their guests, including;

  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting at all venues
  • Touchless sanitising stations are located at all venues
  • All staff, families and their guests are requested to wear face coverings (more guidance under FAQ)
  • Contactless arrangement meetings and item drop-off stations
  • Ensuring your choice of venue is set up with social distancing regulations in place
  • Online guides to assist in making funeral arrangement decisions such as our step by step funeral guide and online coffin & casket gallery
  • Online forms for contactless statutory form submissions
  • Online payments
  • Adhering to all federal and local government, and AFDA regulations and guidelines

What’s possible…

  • Up to 20 mourners plus staff and a choice of 3 Kings venues. Children who are under one year of age are not counted in the 20 person limit
  • All regular attended and unattended funeral offerings (Ask for our guide on basic, single, double funeral services)
  • Cremation and burial options
  • Webcasting to allow those who cannot be present in person, to be involved
  • E-Tributes to allow messages of condolence
  • Photo presentations during the service
  • Creativity is encouraged, learn more on how some have approached bereavement during this time
  • Meaningful elements such as flowers, candles, and readings
  • Our comfort dog, Womble, is available to be present with you and your guests

How we can help…

  • Your Arranger is available for any questions, concerns or feedback at all times
  • We have 24/7 availability via phone or email
  • We are committed to working with the wishes of the family while staying within regulations
  • The Grief Centre is a complimentary phone service available to Kings families
  • FAQs and guides are available online and via your Arranger
  • We will continue to update you via your Arranger, our Facebook page and website

Funeral Attendee FAQ

How many people can attend a funeral in Victoria?
20 mourners plus funeral staff subject to a four-square metre distancing rule within Greater Geelong.
Applicable from 11:59 pm 16 September 2020.

I live in Melbourne, can I attend a Funeral in Geelong?
Yes, you may travel outside of Melbourne metropolitan area or the Shire of Mitchell to attend a funeral, noting that face covers are mandatory.

Are face coverings required?
Yes. Applicable since 11:59 pm on 2 August 2020, it is mandatory to wear face coverings outside of the home.
Exemptions from face covering will be granted in line with the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s recommendations including children under 12 years old and people with certain medical conditions and disabilities. Learn more from the DHHS here.

How many people can attend Kings venues?
20 mourners plus funeral and cemetery staff. Children who are under one year of age are not counted in the 20 person limit.

Why are only a limited number of people allowed to attend a funeral?
Restrictions are in place to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community. Funerals have the largest allowable numbers for a public gathering in recognition of the importance to many families of gathering for a funeral soon after a death.

When will this end?
Easing of restrictions will continue to be revisited.

What if we need more than the restricted number of people to come?
There are no exemptions to the mourner maximum in Victoria.

How do we stop extra people turning up?
We will not publicly advertise the time and location of the funeral.  We suggest not circulating the details of the funeral beyond the mourners attending.

What if extra people turn up anyway?
The funeral will not commence until there are no more than 20 mourners present (or fewer subject to that venue’s capacity under the 4m2 distancing rule).

What if the extra people won’t leave?
We will wait.  The funeral may need to be rescheduled if there is a long delay and another funeral booked afterwards.  Any additional charges for rescheduling will be added to the funeral account.

Why do I have to provide a list of names and contact phone numbers the day before the service?
This is to assist you and us. It will avoid confusion with family members accidentally inviting too many people or some people assuming they are included in the number of allowed mourners.  If more than the restricted number of people are present, roll call may be taken to ensure that the correct people are allowed to remain.

Contact names and phone numbers of guests will be shared with the venue hosting the funeral and provided to Victorian Health officials on request to assist with contact tracing and will not be used for any other purpose.

What if somebody on the list can’t make it at the last minute?
You are welcome to substitute their name for another name – please let us know as soon as possible.

Who has the final word on deciding on the attendees?
The person responsible for organising the funeral – this may be the spouse, a child or executor. If there is confusion, we will ask the person responsible for clarification.

Why can’t we have more than one group of 10 people eg 20 people at the chapel and a different 20 people at the cemetery?
The regulation states a total number of people at a funeral, not at each funeral component/event.  The intention is to reduce the risk of infection to family and funeral staff by only allowing a limited number of mourners plus staff to gather for the funeral.

How do we decide which people are allowed to attend the funeral?
The answer will be different for each family – some will choose to have one representative from each family group, others will choose not to travel long distances to attend. It may be helpful to find other ways that non-attending family and friends can feel involved in the organisation of the funeral.

How can other people be included in the funeral?
At our chapels and some other locations, webcasting is offered which can allow many more people to attend the service.  Speak with your funeral consultant about additional options that may work for you.

How can people support us in our grief if they can’t come to the funeral?
They can attend the webcast if it is offered and share their reflections with you afterwards. They can reach out by video call, telephone, text, letter, social media.  They can provide contactless delivery of groceries, flowers, cooked meals. They can attend a memorial service in future if you choose to hold one.

Can we have a bigger funeral in future?
Yes, we will arrange a public memorial service for any family who wishes to hold a larger gathering when restrictions are reduced to allow this.

What if we choose not to obey the mourner regulations?
The funeral will not commence until there are no more than 20 mourners present (or fewer subject to that venue’s capacity under the 4m2 distancing rule). Police may be called.  Police may issue fines – all mourners will be responsible for their fines and the person responsible for the funeral will be liable for any fines incurred by the business, our staff, celebrant and cemetery staff

Can I hug my family and friends at the funeral?
Under the restrictions, physical distance must be maintained during a funeral by staying at least 1.5m apart.

What support can I get?
Our partner The Grief Centre will contact you 6 weeks after the funeral and throughout the first year to support you including the offer of counselling sessions.
Other organisations such as Beyond Blue and Lifeline are available for support (see our website for more organisations) https://www.kingsfunerals.com.au/support/community-support/

Your GP can provide mental health support including referral to a psychologist.

I’m Over the Age of 70, Should I Attend a funeral?
We encourage you to keep updated with the Australian Department of Health recommendations, in particular, ‘What you need to know’ and ‘Who is Most at Risk’ to make an informed decision on whether to attend.
For those clients holding services at our venues, we do offer a live-streaming service via the internet for anyone who cannot or would prefer not to attend in person. Please talk to your funeral arranger about how to set this up.

How Can I Offer Support to Grieving Friends & Family?
At Kings we help families and communities grieve together.
For many people, this involves gathering to share memories and hugs. At this time we are only able to provide an opportunity for small groups to meet for a funeral but you can still support grieving people in the following ways;

  • View the funeral online if that is an option
  • Leave a message on the person’s etribute site
  • Reach out to the family by phone or message
  • Send food or flowers to the family
  • Listening to the grieving family and appreciating that while many weeks or months may have passed, their loss will still be a significant presence for them

When this period has passed you can continue to provide support by;

  • Attending the delayed funeral if the family chooses to have one
  • Talking about the person by name

Additional Support

What is the Process of Contacting You When a Death Has Occurred?
Our staff can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on (03) 5248 3444. Please see our helpful guide to arranging a funeral.

For the safety of our staff and families, we have made the following changes to our process;

When first contacting us, we will ask;

  • Whether the deceased had shown any respiratory symptoms, including very mild or, flu-like symptoms or has been tested or advised to be tested for Coronavirus
  • Whether family members present at transfer have shown any respiratory symptoms, including very mild or, flu-like symptoms, or has been tested or advised to be tested for Coronavirus
  • Whether the family making arrangements have shown any respiratory symptoms, including very mild or, flu-like symptoms, or has been tested or advised to be tested for Coronavirus

If the answer is yes to any of the above questions, we will be required to take extra precautions when dealing with the deceased and the deceased’s family, all of which will be communicated to you by our staff. All efforts will remain in place to ensure the highest respect and care for the family and the deceased.

  • Arrangement meetings can be held by phone, email, and video call. This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of families and our staff. Your Arranger is available to talk with you about your options.

Do You Offer Non-contact Services?

Yes. We are here for you to deliver the same high standards of care with the following non-contact methods, should they suit your needs.*

The following non-contact services are available to you;

Pre-Paid Services

  • Phone consultations, email, mail, video calls, online payment, and online signature options

Funeral Arrangements

  • Phone consultations, email, mail, video calls, online payments, and online signature option are available.
  • Your Arranger is available to talk with you about all options pertaining to service options

*Please stay informed by visiting the Australian Government Department of Health website or talk with your Arranger.

Our first-responders will continue to be available 24/7 to take your call and bring your loved one into our care.

How do I Pre-Arrange and Pre-Pay Funerals?

Information on Pre-Arranging and Pre-Paying your funerals can be found here. Our team is available to assist 24/7. These arrangements can be conducted by phone, email, online and facetime.

Helpful Resources

Australian Government Department of Health
Corona Virus (COVID-19) Health Alert
Corona Virus (COVID-19) Advice For Public Gatherings & Visits To Older Groups

Support
We at Kings are here to help – and so are many professional and caring organisations like the ones listed here. We encourage you to see what services they have to offer and to call on them for assistance when needed.
Our partner The Grief Centre will contact you 6 weeks after the funeral and throughout the first year to support you including the offer of counselling sessions. Your GP can provide mental health support including referral to a psychologist.

We thank you for your patience and support in what is a difficult situation.

Yours sincerely
Briohny Fitzgerald
Operations Manager
Kings Funerals