Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Haycock-Cavanagh Funeral Home: Changes to provincial restrictions for funerals & celebrations of life

Kevin Cavanagh, owner of the Haycock-Cavanagh Funeral Home in Wallaceburg, says there have been many changes to the provincial restrictions for funerals and celebrations of life since June of this year.

Dana Haggith caught up with Cavanagh to discuss the changes. Listen, below:

Cavanagh has shared further details about the changes with the Sydenham Current:

The rules are constantly evolving, especially with the second wave of Covid-19. The province has recently introduced colour codes so that the regions that are behaving responsibly are not placed under the same restrictions as the high risk areas.

Currently Chatham-Kent is in the green zone, so we are allowed 30% capacity in each of our rooms, taking into account social distancing, to a maximum of 50 people. That means that our chapel, even though it could accommodate 60 people last week, is now limited to 50 people at a time, not including our staff.

Now this is a bit of a claw-back from just last week when we were allowed 30% capacity on or off site, meaning that even though churches can continue to host 30% capacity, funerals have been mandated to a limit of 50 people.

Yesterday it was explained to us by The Bereavement Authority of Ontario that funerals are different than church gatherings in that there is no way to keep people from hugging and supporting each other and that different groups, travelling from all corners of the province, will to come together at times of loss. Funeral homes in the orange and red zones have many more restrictions at this time.

At our funeral home we have configured the chapel into rows of 5 chairs with the 1st chair being 6 feet from the 5th chair so that each row can accommodate 2 – 5 people depending on your household bubble size.

For visiting, we use an app called SignUp so that people can click on the link in the obituary to reserve a spot or people can call the funeral home and we will reserve their spots for them.

We have been scheduling visitors in 30 minute time slots so that there are little to no line-ups and no cross over in hall ways or entrance points. It has been working so well that people have been commenting that they would like the reservation app to continue after the pandemic ends so that they can come and go without standing in line for long periods of time.

Funerals and Celebrations of Life now life tend to be more private family events as there is limited space, but we have the family create their own private list and if there are extra seats, we then give those seats away to the public via the reservation app.

At the cemetery we are allowed to have 100 people, not including staff, but it still takes the same amount of planning as cemeteries are governed by the same provincial mandate and subject to the same penalties for non-compliance.

Our Reception Centre can accommodate the same 30% capacity as the rest of our facilities. The main difference is the food has to be plated instead of buffet style. We have been serving hot and cold meals from Hometown Deli and local restaurants. Our tables are set up to accommodate 2 – 6 people, depending on your household bubble.

Inside, masks and social distancing are provincially mandated and for outside gatherings distancing is mandatory and masks recommended. The only exception for face coverings inside is when seated at the luncheon table while eating, the same as at a restaurant. 

Another recent change is the COMPASSIONATE ENTRY FOR TRAVELERS AND LIMITED RELEASE FROM QUARANTINE application. For example, someone who lives in Michigan can apply online to enter Ontario, quarantine, and then leave quarantine temporarily to attend a funeral or celebration of life and return to quarantine. That person can also leave quarantine early to return to their country of origin if they wish. Here is the link to the application:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice/compassionate-entry-limited-release-from-quarantine.html

For many months, we have been recording funerals and celebrations when asked and can upload the video to the person’s tribute page on our website for public access, or, if the family would like the video to be completely private, we can upload it to the cloud for the family to share a private link with their loved ones.

As well, invitation only Zoom meetings during the visiting, funeral or luncheon have been very popular. We have an iPad on an eye-level stand that is portable so that guests who weren’t able to attend in person can be there virtually and interact with those in attendance. Family from different corners of the world have been able to spend time at the visiting or at each table chatting during the lunch, catching up and sharing stories. 

Now, more than ever, people who have experienced a loss need community support. We’ve been doing our best to adapt to the mandated restrictions so that we as a community can continue to care and support our families and loved ones when they need it most.

More details are available at: https://www.cavanaghfuneralhome.ca/


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