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SMCT

29 November 2021
Important COVID notice

Our commitment to care for the community

While the impacts of COVID-19 are continually evolving, our focus continues to be on helping our community to honour and celebrate life. We are working with the latest advice from the Victorian Government to adapt our services and procedures to protect the health and wellbeing of our employees, partners and the community we serve.

Following the Victorian Government's announcement of a further easing of restrictions, this page has important information to help you understand how the changes will affect our services.

Our locations remain open and we are observing restrictions to keep our locations as safe as possible for our community to honour and celebrate life.

We encourage our community to continue to adhere to all current Victorian Government directives.

Am I permitted to visit a cemetery?

There are no restrictions on reasons to travel to our sites, and you may travel from anywhere within metropolitan Melbourne when you visit.

You may visit our locations to attend a funeral or confirmed appointment, but some restrictions and safety measures still apply. For more information, please see 'Are there any restrictions for funeral gatherings?' below.

Please note that face masks are still compulsory in some circumstances - please see 'Will I have to wear a face covering or mask?' below for further details.

We understand that while these changes are encouraging, this remains a difficult time for many. We have a shared responsibility to comply with government public health measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and continue to adapt our services to help keep our community safe.

We are open to support you

Our thoughts are with our community and with those who are experiencing the pain of loss during such a difficult time, when physical connection to others and presence in honouring loved ones has been difficult and restricted.

We are committed to providing light for all Victorians throughout this time, and will continue to adapt our services to help families honour and celebrate the life of loved ones.

In addition to observing social distancing measures, we have also increased sanitation on our sites to keep our locations as safe as possible for our community.

Are there any restrictions for funeral gatherings?

As of Friday 19 November, any caps on indoor or outdoor gathering attendance are determined based on vaccination status, as below:

  • Vaccination status of all guests is checked, and all guests are fully vaccinated or hold a valid medical exemption
    • No limit to the number of attendees at an indoor or outdoor service or seated function
  • Not all guests are fully vaccinated, or vaccination status is unknown or not being checked
    • Up to 30 attendees at an indoor service in select spaces (Blair, Wilson and Cirrus)
    • Up to 50 attendees at an outdoor service

As room density requirements still apply in some cases, please visit our maximum occupancy page for more information on individual venue capacity. For more information on vaccination and exemptions, please visit the Victorian Government's page on understanding vaccination status.

We are continuing to keep funeral directors who work with us updated. They can guide you on options and arrangements, and discuss video streaming and recording options for those who are unable to attend on the day. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Are visitors required to sign in using a QR code?

Yes, all visitors must sign in. As an important way to facilitate contact tracing, and to allow us to accommodate maximum numbers across our spaces, we have implemented mandatory sign-in using QR codes for customers. This means that when coming on-site to our café, florist or for any event or appointment, visitors will need to use their mobile phone to register their attendance by scanning the provided QR code with their phone camera and provide their name and phone number.

In line with government directives, we are required to maintain contact information of all attendees at indoor and outdoor funeral related gatherings, including visits to functions, Café Vita et flores and Honouring Life Services.

The purpose of collecting contact information is to assist the Department of Health (DH) with contact tracing in the event an attendee or employee member is thought to have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the time of attending our sites. Collected information will be provided to DH only for the above use if required on their request, under the powers granted to them to perform contact tracing. Our community may be reassured that they are only to give their first name and a contact phone number, and that the records will be destroyed after 28 days.

Will I have to wear a face covering or mask?

As of Friday 19 November, masks are no longer required to be worn outdoors, or indoors at chapel services or functions. They are also not required to be worn when attending either of our cafés. However, they do remain compulsory while visiting our florists.

Masks are still recommended when it is not possible to maintain a distance of 1.5m from others. For specific directives on face covering use, including exceptions, please refer to the Victorian Government website.

Are outdoor social gatherings permitted?

Yes, outdoor social gatherings are permitted.

For more information on this or any other lockdown directives, please refer to the Victorian Government website.

Can I visit a grave or memorial site?

You may currently visit a grave or memorial site for any reason.

Can I visit SMCT for an appointment?

If you need to speak to one of our customer care consultants, appointments can be conducted by phone and email. Face-to-face appointments will be available for families requiring urgent assistance - please call our customer care team on (03) 8558 8278 for more information.

All face-to-face consultations are subject to a maximum of two people attending each appointment. All visitors will need to wear a face mask and observe social distancing by maintaining a minimum of 1.5 metre person-to-person spacing. As an added precaution, we have introduced temperature checks for anyone coming to appointments in our Customer Service areas.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you may currently only attend appointments where urgent assistance is required due to the passing of a close friend or family member. For other appointments, please call our customer care team on (03) 8558 8278.

Please also note that you must currently be fully vaccinated to collect the ashes of a loved one. If you are not fully vaccinated, you may designate a fully vaccinated person to do so your behalf by providing them with a signed letter authorising them to collect the ashes. They will need to bring this letter on the day to present to our team.

If you wish to arrange an Honouring Life Ceremony or plaque installation, please call us to discuss appointment options.

During this time, please refrain from coming on-site to conduct genealogical research. Use our online Deceased Search tool, submit a records enquiry online or call us on (03) 8558 8278 for assistance.

Can I have a monument or a plaque installed?

In some cases, plaques and monuments may be able to be installed by permitted contractors. We are currently reviewing the latest government directives and will update this page when further information comes to hand.

If you would like to discuss installation of a plaque or monument, please contact us on (03) 8558 8278.

Visiting our café and florist

Our florist and café at both Springvale Botanical Cemetery and Bunurong Memorial Park are currently open. Both cafés are offering seated service to fully vaccinated customers (or those with a medical exemption) as well as takeaway service. Please note that QR code check-in remains mandatory.

For more information, please visit the Victorian Government's page on understanding vaccination status.

We are here to support you

We understand the importance of saying goodbye to loved ones and appreciate the added difficulty that restrictions have imposed on families. Please contact our Customer Care Team to discuss any concerns you may have during this time an find out how we can support you.

While our Centre for Care & Wellbeing has temporarily closed its doors, our team continues to provide the community with care and support via email and phone. We are committed to helping all Victorians throughout these unprecedented times, reshaping our services so families can honour and celebrate the life of loved ones.

Click here to discover online resources, such as our online wellness videos created by our Centre for Care & Wellbeing team to encourage the practice of self-care through these challenging times.

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Image: Important Notice