The lockdown has brought changes that require us to adapt to a new normal, one of these being the way in which we carry out funerals. But has this ushered in a new normal that could help grieving families cut back on costs and lengthy preparations?
The current state of funerals during lockdown
The South African government has introduced cautionary phases to help ease the country back into its new normal. These phases range from level 1 - 5, with level five being the most stringent level to help flatten the curve.
Concerns were raised on how families will be able to bury their loved ones under the new lockdown restrictions that limit the movement between provinces. In response, the South African government moved towards introducing permits to allow movement of loved ones to attend funerals and the transporting of the deceased's remains.
The regulations governing who may attend a funeral under the COVID-19 enforced lockdown, which has been put in place by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), can be found here. Some of the measures state that:
People who can attend funerals should be the deceased’s spouse or partner, child(adoptive/biological/child-in-law), parents(adoptive/biological/stepparents), siblings, grandparents.
The limited number of no more than 50 people may attend the funeral.
Night vigils at a funeral is currently banned.
Hygienic measures need to be followed throughout the funeral. The same measures that apply for everyone still apply at funerals to avoid the spreading of COVID-19.
Each person travelling needs a permit. Whether you are travelling alone or in a group to a funeral between districts or provinces, you will be required to carry a permit that corresponds with Form 4 of Annexure A from the nearest magistrate’s office of police station to travel to and from the funeral.
Could the old way of carrying out funerals be dead?
Funerals consist of three things; the family, the mourners, and the extensive preparations that come with the type of funeral the grieving family will carry out. However, the lockdown has changed this by reducing the number of people that are allowed to attend and a need to have the dead buried quicker than before as hospitals and morgues receive an influx of people.
It has also created a shift away from elaborate funerals that tend to come with high costs that are often shouldered by the grieving family. The cost of the average South African funeral varies from family to family, but could the lockdown have revealed that the future of funerals could change.
Being financially prepared for funerals
The coronavirus has caused many to question previous traditions that have been in place that can sometimes be costly.
Having a funeral policy in place can be useful when it comes to covering funeral expenses and giving your loved one's space to grieve without having to stress on the financial aspect of a funeral. However, settling for the first policy without checking the features that come with it such as the cover amount and the pay-out time, could lead you to be short changed in a time of need.
Furthermore, what happens to those who are financially dependent on you once you have passed on? Protecting the financial future of those that matter to you is equally important and will be needed beyond the funeral day, which is why it is important to have life insurance in place.
Not only will this help them, but it can also be used when you are still alive should you fall terminally ill. We may not know what the future holds but being able to cover all our financial basis for the unseen events that can occur in the future is the best thing that we can do.