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PPE and new COVID-19 regulations means funeral costs are higher

National Funeral Directors Association Manesh Govender said one of the biggest contributing factors to the increase in costs was the need for personal protective equipment.

Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN – The cost to bury family members has increased by 25% since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Stringent regulations are driving the costs ever higher.

National Funeral Directors Association Manesh Govender said one of the biggest contributing factors to the increase in costs was the need for personal protective equipment (PPE).

He said bodies of those who were known or suspected to have died of COVID-19 had to be put into two to three bags and sanitised.

Vehicles also have to be sanitised before and after the removal of a body, and a funeral.

“We now have to put the deceased in body bags, that’s a cost and our staff that are working with the deceased – before we used to just wear our masks and gloves, now we wear full coveralls or gowns.”

He said basic funeral costs ranged between about R9,000 and R10,000 – this included removal of the body, storage, and all PPE costs.

Govender said the price of labour had also increased because with funerals happening almost every day, more staff were required.

“Some companies had to go out and purchase all those and they took loans because we didn’t know when the spike was coming and we could not tell our clients that we could not serve [them] because we did not have PPE.”

The City of Cape Town is meanwhile calling on the public to have burials on alternate days of the week, to help ease congestion at cemeteries over weekends.

It said while Saturday burials had dropped as a percentage of overall burials per week, the numbers were starting to increase again, which was a concern.

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