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Funerals streamed live online or postponed due to COVID-19 crisis

With social distancing being a major plank of the measures of the curb the spread of the novel corona virus, funeral directors in our region are being forced to come up with alternatives to ensure that families and friends can bid farewell to a departed loved one. The online live streaming of a funeral service is one option, another is a service with just a select group of just a few mourners. Meanwhile, some families opt to delay the funeral until the measures have been lifted and things return to normal, whenever that might be. 

Over the past two weeks funeral director Stefaan Romeyns from Brakel in East Flanders has livestreamed two funeral services.

Mr Romeyns told VRT News that "We have had the technology for a few year and it can be used for example if relatives are abroad or bed-ridden. We are now able to use it to ensure that people that are not allowed to attend a funeral are able to follow it even to an extent take part in it”.

The system uses 360° cameras that record everything. Relatives watching at home can steer the cameras to watch the service from the angle of their choice.

Mr Romeyns adds that most people are familiar with live steaming or familiarise themselves with it very quickly.

Under the measures brought in last week funeral directors have to observe very strict rules. Just 20 people, including the funeral director and his staff, are allowed to attend. Furthermore, only family members are allowed to attend. Friends, neighbours, colleagues etc. have to stay away.

Funeral directors try and make as many of the arrangements as possible over the phone. No more than 3 family members of the deceased are allowed to go to the funeral parlour in person.