COVID-19: Registrar’s Directives

Reduced max at funerals + more directives

March 23, 2020

Today, as Registrar, I’m ordering a new limit on the number of people who can attend funerals, in anticipation of increased demands from COVID-19 in coming days, and to reduce the potential for transmission to staff and others.

These are not recommendations. They are directives that you must comply with immediately.

  1. All funerals, as of now, must be limited to the maximum number that can be accommodated for people to maintain a distance of two metres (six feet) apart at all times.
    The provincial maximum for any gatherings, including funerals, is 50 people.
    But a funeral establishment must reduce that number to fit the size of their facility. For example, a 20-foot by 30-foot room inside a funeral home would realistically be able to hold a maximum of only 10 visitors at one time.
    Consider alternatives to in-person services such as webcasting, which some have started to do. (Kudos to you if you have already.)
  2. No food or beverages can be offered or consumed by guests during gatherings in the funeral home.
  3. DO NOT DELAY INTERMENTS. I have said this before and I know many have complied. But I also know some have been storing bodies since the pandemic began to inter at a later date. Let me be very direct: Interments and burials must proceed now.  A separate directive will be issued to all cemeteries advising them to inter as soon as possible and maximize their availability for burials. Please communicate this to your local cemeteries – they too are regulated by the BAO.
    *Note – ‘Burials’ includes interring in a crypt, in a mausoleum, and cremated remains in a columbarium.

Stay tuned

There will be more directives from me in coming days. Stay tuned and stay vigilant.

Read our Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) website for more information. It also contains a warehouse of these and other directives, notices and webinar information on our COVID-19 page.

These measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure safety for families and staff. It is paramount that you do everything you can to conserve your staff for future need. Together we can serve families while protecting them and staff.

Thank you.

-Carey Smith, CEO/Registrar, BAO