Orange level could make organising funerals and weddings harder

Funeral directors are concerned about the difficulties the new orange level pandemic restrictions will make for grieving families when they try to organise a ceremony for their loved ones.

Although a more joyful occasion, people organising weddings will also face some difficult choices.

In essence, under the new rules, families will have two choices.

They can choose between an event (wedding/funeral) no capacity limits that can only be attended by fully vaccinated people, or a service that is open to everyone. If they choose the latter, it will be restricted to a maximum of 50 people.

Lamb & Hayward Group funeral directors chief executive Stephen Parkyn says various difficulties present themselves when people are trying to organise a funeral.

One is that families may not know the vaccination status of their wider family group.

“That could cause quite a distressing situation if they choose a vaccine pass funeral and discover when people arrive that key family members are not vaccinated and can’t attend.”

In Parkyn’s opinion this will “further polarise the division between vaccinated and unvaccinated at a time when families have had a loss and are grieving.”

If families choose an unvaccinated funeral, it would be treated as a private event with no public notices to avoid breaching the 50-person limit.

Funeral directors would have to scan vaccine passes to verify everyone attending was fully immunised for services where families chose the vaccinated option.

Funeral director Andrew Bell says the new system will create new challenges. The capacity limit for unvaccinated funerals would affect most ceremonies, he says.

Given that the average funeral size is between 80 and 90 people, most people will choose the vaccine pass system, he says.

For the funeral director, that will require a new staff member being employed to scan vaccine passes at vaccinated funerals.

“That is another expense that we will have to incur.”

He is also concerned the vaccine pass system may confuse mourners.

Wedding celebrant Julie Lassen acknowledges the vaccine pass system is a requirement of many venues.

She says she only leads services where the vaccine pass system is followed.

Rather than fix on a big wedding, Lassen says she is encouraging couples to plan what she called “elopement” weddings, with small guest lists.

Besides being less expensive, smaller weddings reduce the stress of planning for different pandemic control levels.

“It means that whatever happens you can still get married,” she says.

“It is extremely stressful when you are trying to organise a wedding and you might have to tell people they can’t come.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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