Undertakers are running out of space to store bodies in Glasgow amid the coronavirus pandemic, the head of a family funeral directors firm has claimed.
Funeral services cannot take place until deaths have been registered, but face-to-face appointments at registry offices are currently unavailable following the government’s lockdown.
Dom Maguire, head of Anderson Maguire funeral directors, says funerals are being ‘held in limbo’, adding that he believes at least 200 families have been unable to say goodbye to their loved ones.
Coffin manufacturers are working ’24/7’ to brace for an anticipated increase in the number of deaths as they ‘prepare for the worst’, Mr Maguire added.
Death registrations are set to become easier due to Westminster emergency powers legislation, but the Anderson Maguire boss says he does not expect these to take effect until the weekend at the earliest.
He said: ‘This means from Friday last right through to this weekend every death that has occurred no arrangements can be made for these funerals.
‘Funeral directors are now looking at a serious backlog of funerals. I know a number of funeral directors who have ordinarily adequate mortuary space who are under pressure. We have had to use reserve refrigeration space.’
Former president of the UK Association of Funeral Directors Mr Maguire was involved in pandemic contingency planning during the bird flu and Sars outbreaks and has provided services for coronavirus victims already.
He said: ‘Nothing equates to what the anticipated and forecast situation is going to be going forward. While we hope for the best we have got to plan for the worst.’
The funeral director, who operates 14 funeral homes in Glasgow, is currently making plans for bereaved relatives to have video conference appointments with funeral directors.
He said: ‘For funeral directors, every death is important, whether it is from Covid-19 or otherwise.
‘In so far as it is possible, funeral directors are going to attempt to give the best service that they can under what are going to be extremely difficult circumstances.’
Glasgow City Council has advised people to monitor its website for death registration updates.
In a statement, the council said: ‘Following Government advice Registrars are now preparing for remote registration for deaths. Face to face appointments are currently not available.’
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