In the year 2020, Covid-19 swop down the earth and conquered the entire universe by not only taking lives by the number of millions but also in the course of doing so, altered the course of millions more lives and changes routines of how one lives and for that matter, how one dies. As we transition to the third phase of the post-circuit breaker for Covid-19 in Singapore, new rules and guidelines are being introduced by the authorities to ensure minimized contact and reduced exposure for attendance at funeral services or wake processions. Are you familiar with what can be done under the purview of the new guidelines and what should be avoided when planning for a Christian funeral service in Singapore for a recent departed loved one?
Maintenance of safe distancing measures of one meter between all visitors and the usual mask-on policy will be applicable at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and columbarium in Mandai and Yishun just like anywhere else in public. Restrictions on the number of visiting family members will be cap at eight persons per one group. It's advised that visitors refrain from bringing family members whom may be from the vulnerable group of elderly or young companions for any Singapore funeral service. Visitors whom are unwell will be advise to stay home and not attend ceremonies held at the cemetery or columbarium.
What about Christian funeral services held at void decks or homes; and also cremations ceremonies or during burial services? Funeral wakes, burials and cremations each have a restriction of maximum 30 attendees per ceremony. Seating arrangements for funeral wakes too must be done in a way where there must be at least a meter away from any other chairs that are from another corresponding table. Like wise to the restrictions on number of persons in any public gathering, there must not be more than 8 persons seated at each table at a funeral wake. Setting up of buffet or reception with foods and drinks served from them are not allowed. Religious workers like preachers or on stage speakers for eulogy pieces must be protected with face shields if they are not masked up properly. Records of visitors to the funeral event must be tracked and kept for a period of at least 25 days after the funeral services in Singapore. This is to facilitate tracking efforts in the event of any outbreak or transmission that might occurred during the funeral procession.
Lastly, there has been already an approval given by the authorities to allowed a deceased who had passed on from COVID-19 infection, to have an official funeral wake procession. Though due to the viral transmission risk, extra care has to be taken in treatment of the deceased remains. No embalming of the deceased will be allowed and cremation of the body is highly encouraged unless there are strong religious reasons not to do so, with approval from the authorities required in the event of such requests put up. In addition, the body of the deceased would double-bagged and a hermetically sealed coffin will be used for storage of the remains. Finally, procedures that may involve close contact with the body of the deceased, can only be handled by trained personnel of the funeral services companies.