A group of people walking in a park.

Reminder of COVID-19 Registrar’s Directives still in place

Sept. 3, 2020

The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is reminding its licensees of Registrar’s Directives still in place in advance of a second pandemic wave this fall.

“The bereavement sector has done an excellent job of minimizing health risks during the coronavirus pandemic,” says Carey Smith, CEO/Registrar, BAO.

“We remind you as licensees of restrictions still in place as they are worth repeating to maintain safety for families and bereavement sector staff. Let’s continue to be ready together.”

Funeral services

Indoor funeral services, including visitations and receptions, are limited to gatherings of 30 per cent of room capacity with physical distancing. Please note: There must be one funeral staff member per 10 attendees for indoor services.

Outdoor funeral services, including graveside services, are limited to 100 attendees. Please note: Funeral directors must have sufficient numbers of staff present to ensure physical distancing is maintained. This is as per our Registrar’s Directive, effective July 17.

Physical distancing of two metres between people must be maintained at all funeral services.

Sign-in of attendees at funeral services is still required in case contact tracing is required later.

A 15-minute interval between visitations is also still required to allow funeral home staff time to properly clean and disinfect all surfaces (and washrooms if used.)

If permitted by your local health unit, food and beverages may be served in compliance with rules and guidelines in your community. Note that buffet style offerings are not recommended because of the greater risk of spreading the virus.

Cemeteries

Cemeteries can restrict attendance numbers to less than the maximum permitted for outdoor funeral services and all gatherings. Funeral professionals should confirm restrictions with cemetery staff in advance of funeral services at cemeteries.

Wear a mask

Masks should be worn by everyone. Smith adds, “Remember funeral services involve hugging, consoling, tears, runny noses – all factors that add to the risk of infection.”

The BAO also advises licensees to follow safety restrictions put in place by your local health unit.

Cleaning

“Be vigilant. Continue to do your part to prevent an infection by cleaning thoroughly at your establishment,” Smith says.

In recent months there have been two funeral homes where an attendee was later found to be COVID-19 positive. Fortunately, because the funeral home staff members were diligent in adhering to the preventive measures mandated by the BAO, the cases were contained and the funeral homes were permitted to stay open.

BAO website

The BAO’s COVID-19: Ready…together web index continues to be updated regularly with Registrar’s Directives, Notices, Guidance and information for your reference.

About the BAO

The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is a government delegated authority administering provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002, (FBCSA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Responsible for protection of the public interest, the BAO regulates and supports: licensed funeral establishment operators, directors and preplanners; cemetery, crematorium and alternative disposition operators; transfer service operators; and bereavement sector sales representatives across Ontario.