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Registration, bereavement care and coroner services during Coronavirus

The city council provides registration, bereavement care and coroner services for residents. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and in line with the latest Government guidance, some temporary changes to how the services operate are being made this includes extended opening times and only cashless payments will be taken only by Registration and Bereavement Care Services. Please return to this page for the most up-to-date information.

Registration, bereavement care and coroner services during Coronavirus

Registration Services

  • For all appointments please call 01782 235260 or you can email register.office@stoke.gov.uk 
  • Admittance to the Registration Service at Hanley Town Hall is by appointment only, the walk in service remains closed.
  • Death registrations including still births continue to be registered via telephone. Please call for an appointment, the Registrar will then call you within 30 mins of your appointed time to complete the registration.
  • Birth Registrations can now be completed face to face at Hanley Town Hall, please call for an appointment or email register.office@stoke.gov.uk
  • Notice of marriage and civil partnership appointments are now available please complete our online enquiry form and a registrar will contact you.
  • Marriage and Civil partnership ceremonies should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. If you have a ceremony booked or wish to enquire about booking a ceremony please email register.office@stoke.gov.uk
  • Citizenship ceremonies continue to be held in line with public health guidance, only the propestive citizen should attend.
  • All activities are subject to the latest government advice on social distancing which is under constant review. 

Burial and cremation

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 came into force in England on 5th November 2020.  The Regulations state that no person may leave home or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.

Among the exceptions listed in the Regulations that allow people to leave home are:

(a) to attend a funeral

(b) to attend a commemorative event celebrating the life of a person who has died such as a placement of cremation ashes

(c) to visit a burial ground or garden of remembrance, to pay respects to a member of your household, a family member or friend.

Attendance at a funeral service is extremely important.  Unfortunately during these difficult times it is not always possible due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Stoke on Trent City Council is constantly striving to ensure that mourners attending funerals at Carmountside Chapel do so in a Covid safe environment.  In addition to the measures taken in the chapel, the Live webcast service will be provided at no cost for services taking place from Monday 2nd November, to encourage participation at home on mobile devices.   Attendance in person still poses a huge risk to everyone present at the Chapel especially those who are clinically vulnerable.  The easy to use live streaming service is available for upto 150 viewers per service enabling them to watch from the safety of their own home and giving the reassurance of their presence at the service.  28 day watch again facilities, DVD and Blue-Ray recordings are also available at an additional cost.

Since Saturday 8th August 2020 it has been mandatory to wear a face covering when attending a funeral service in the chapel at Carmountside Crematorium.  This is in accordance with “The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020”.

The Regulations state:

(1) No person may, without reasonable excuse, enter or remain within a relevant place without wearing a face covering.

(2) The requirement in paragraph (1) does not apply—

(a)to a child who is under the age of 11;

(b)to a person responsible for a relevant place or an employee of that person acting in the course of their employment;

(c)to any other person providing services in the relevant place under arrangements made with the person responsible for a relevant place;

(d)to an employee of an operator of a public transport service acting in the course of their employment;

(e)to a person who enters or is within a transport hub in a vehicle (other than a vehicle being used for the provision of a public transport service);

(f)to a constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty;

(g)to an emergency responder (other than a constable) acting in their capacity as an emergency responder;

(h)to a relevant official acting in the course of their employment or their duties.
 

Social distancing at funerals

During the current pandemic period the city council has been committed to ensuring the bereaved are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect whilst making sure mourners and workers involved in the management of funerals are protected from infection.

Mourners who attend a funeral must maintain a safe distance of at least 2 metres (3 steps) between individuals who are outside their household or support bubble.  Currently, the number of mourners allowed to attend a burial or cremation service is set at a maximum of 30.  Alongside the funeral director, chapel attendant, and funeral staff only the following should attend:

•             members of the person’s household

•             close family members

•             or if the above are unable to attend, close friends

•             attendance of a celebrant of choice, should the bereaved request this

Mourners in attendance should follow the general advice on hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infection and maintain social distancing when traveling to the funeral via the safest route possible, preferably in a car by themselves, or with someone from their household. Where public transport is to be used the additional risk involved should be considered.

People who have symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend a funeral because they pose a risk to others.

People who are legally required to self-isolate (see exemption below )

Any person who has been instructed by NHS Test Trace to self-isolate because they have tested positive for COVID-19, or they are the close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should not attend a funeral because they pose a risk to others. It is a legal offence for a person who is required to self-isolate to attend a funeral except under limited exemptions.

People with a legal duty to self-isolate are:

● Anyone who is notified that they have tested positive for COVID-19. They must self-isolate (stay at home) for the period ending 10 days after they first developed symptoms or, if they did not have symptoms when they took a coronavirus test, 10 days after the date of the test.

● Anyone who is notified that another member of their household or support bubble has tested positive. They must stay at home for the period ending 14 days after that household or support bubble member’s symptoms began or, if they did not have symptoms when they took a coronavirus test, 14 days after the date of the test.

● Anyone who is instructed by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because of close recent contact with a person outside their household or support bubble who has tested positive for COVID-19. They must stay at home for the period instructed by NHS Test and Trace (which will end 14 days after the point of most recent contact with the person who has tested positive).

Guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection is available.

Close family members of the deceased are exempted from the legal requirement to self isolate to attend a funeral ceremony.  In this instance, we would strongly recommend that mourner(s) do not attend in person but are instead advised to attend virtually, for example through a video link.

If, after very careful consideration and with awareness of the risks they may pose to others, a mourner who is required to self-isolate chooses to attend the

funeral of a close family member it is essential that all of the following precautions are taken:

● advising the funeral organiser and other mourners that they are in their self-isolation period, and ensuring that they do not attend at the same time as another mourner who may be clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable

● maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres between themselves and others at all times

● practising strict hand and respiratory hygiene by:

○ washing their hands more often than usual with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand
                sanitiser

○ avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth

○ covering their coughs or sneezes

○ wearing a surgical grade Type IIR face mask or higher grade, properly fitting, to minimise any risk of viral transmission from the isolating individual. If a respirator mask is used (for example N95), this should be non-valved.

Mourners in the clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable groups should adhere to rigorous hand and respiratory hygiene and social distancing at all times but particularly whilst out of the home environment. It is important that the organiser of the funeral advises other attendees that there is an extremely clinically vulnerable person attending and reiterating the need to stay at home if they are unwell, and to be respectful of the vulnerable person’s need to avoid close contact at any point.