Question 1. Do crematoriums have to be available 24/7 as funeral homes and cemeteries are required to?
Answer 1. Crematoriums are expected to adjust their operations to be available when needed in order to avoid body storage problems and to prevent delays in cremations.
Q2. Are cemeteries remaining open?
A2. Yes, cemeteries must stay open to conduct burials, as directed by the BAO. But they are permitted to close their facilities to the public at this time. Cemeteries, crematoriums and alternate disposition services, are required to be ready to provide their services 24/7 during this time.
Q3. Are cemeteries included in the government’s list of closed public spaces, and are they shut down?
A3. Cemeteries are not shut down. Many cemetery operators have chosen to close the cemetery to the public in order to comply with the Premier of Ontario’s Order and to maintain control of access but they continue to do burials (see previous answer).. Cemetery operators have the authority to restrict access, under the current circumstance, and can require the number of attendees to be fewer than 10. The BAO supports additional reasonable measures our cemeteries have put in place to keep families and staff safe. If staff get infected by the COVID-19 virus, their lives are threatened and they can’t work for two weeks or more, which would close the operation of cemeteries – especially the many smaller ones across the province. Their services are even more important now.
Q4. Should people continue to visit their deceased loved ones at the cemetery during this time?
A4. No. Our strong recommendation is for people not to visit the cemetery at this time. We know this poses an inconvenience on families. Unfortunately, it is a necessary measure. We have also advised our bereavement licensees (funeral, transfer service, cemetery, crematorium, alternate disposition) and families, that they are not to hug, kiss or touch a deceased loved one who has died from COVID-19. This is a state of emergency with measures aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 Virus and reducing the numbers of deaths in Ontario.
Q5. Are cemetery offices required to be open?
A5. Cemeteries must be able to operate seven days a week. Whether you need your cemetery office open 24/7 is up to you.
Q6. Is Grass cutting and maintenance of a cemetery essential?
A6. Maintenance is essential if it would affect the safety and operation of the cemetery.
Q7. Are monument builders allowed to access cemeteries to install markers and monuments?
A7. Monuments services have not been identified as essential services by the Premier of Ontario’s Order. If a monument is unsafe and needs to be stabilized then a monument builder may be allowed access.