April 13, 2020
In light of the Province of Ontario extending the State of Emergency for an additional 2 weeks to April 23, 2020, The Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Hamilton is changing the operating procedures at the cemeteries it operates. Effective immediately, or as soon as feasible, the following measures will be put in place:
- Where feasible, all cemeteries will have one operating entrance.
- Where feasible, cemeteries will be open to the public for visitations. This may change without notice.
- All masoleums remain closed to the public.
- Prayer services at burials will continue.
- Attendance at burials remains limited to 10 people, not including the Funeral Home and Cemetery staff. NOTE: Clergy are part of the 10-person limit.
- Mausoleum attendance at entombments for non-COVID-19-related deaths remain limited to 10 people.
- Prayer services for mausoleum entombments for COVID-19-related deaths are to take place outside of the mausoleum.
- Flowers are not to be left at the mausoleum for entombments.
- No interments or entombments will take place until the family and Funeral Home staff have left the cemetery.
- Funeral Homes requiring assistance at the cemetery should contact the cemetery a day or two in advance of the burial. The Catholic Cemeteries may be able to faciliate roadside prayer services within the cemetery grounds. This could assist with a shortage of pallbearers.
- Cemetery staff will do their best to ensure that the attendance rules are followed. Family in attendance at burials who do not follow the attendance rules outlined above, or any other part of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) will be responsible for the fines and penalties as stipulated. A copy of the News Release from the Government of Ontario may be found here.
- In order to assist in enforcement of the EMCPA, the cemetery entrance will be closed or blocked before a burial takes place. Only staff from the Funeral Home and 10 other attendees will be allowed into the Cemetery.
- By-law officers may also be allowed in the cemetery during a burial
- Funeral Homes should contact the cemetery approximately 15 minutes before they arrive at the cemetery to ensure that cemetery staff will be available to allow access to the cemetery
- No visitors to the cemetery will be allowed during a burial
- Visitors already in the cemetery prior to a burial may be asked to leave, or may find that they may not be able to leave once a burial has begun. They may have to wait until the prayer service is completed before being allowed to leave
- Once the prayer service has concluded and the Funeral Home staff and family have left the cemetery grounds, the cemetery will be re-opened to the public.
These procedures will be in place during the State of Emergency. These procedures may be updated or changed without notice at any time.
We appreciate and understand what our families are dealing with at this very difficult time in their lives. It is truly unfortunate for families to have to deal with the loss of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic. We all pray that this State of Emergency will be over as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in these difficult times.
THE CATHOLIC CEMETERIES OF THE DIOCESE OF HAMILTON