A funeral is an emotional and difficult time for anyone, but recent circumstances have left families struggling to give their loved ones the send-off they wanted.

The coronavirus outbreak has meant nationwide restrictions including self-isolation and social distancing. But it’s also had a massive impact on funeral arrangements.

While funerals were excluded from the ban on events taking place, such as weddings, the government has issued a number of rules to abide by.

Unless you’re a family member you cannot carry a coffin, mourners cannot bring flowers and no more than 10 people can attend.

For families, this only adds to their heartbreak at feeling they can't give a loved on the send-off they intended.

Debbie Bennett, a funeral director in Merseyside, said: “It’s really sad. I feel so sorry and my heart goes out to them because they can’t give their loved ones a send-off.

Debbie Bennett, a funeral director from Merseyside

“I’m saying to my clients that when it is [the deceased’s] birthday, make that a celebration of their life, have your memorial service and wake afterwards.”

For Debbie, and many other funeral directors, the outbreak has changed how they are able to work.

Debbie said: “It’s not extremely busy at the moment but it’s strange because people can’t have the funeral they want, they are not even allowed to go into a church.

“We’re limiting the families coming into our chapels, just two people can enter, we’re doing most arrangements over the phone. It’s hard.

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“We’re not allowed to hug, touch and comfort people like we usually do and for those wanting a burial, they can only have a graveyard service where just ten people are allowed.

“We are also no longer providing limousines."

The majority of bereaved families are doing their best to adapt to the new procedures in line with the advice funeral directors are giving them.

Debbie said: “We’ve had people upset but no one has become angry, most of them understand and I feel so sorry for them because we all just want to give our loved ones the send-off they deserve.”

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Debbie also says she and other funeral directors feel 'forgotten' by the government as they arrange funerals for coronavirus victims.

Over the past couple of weeks, Debbie says she has struggled to buy personal protective equipment for herself and staff.

This has resulted in her using eBay to purchase products - but even they are in short supply.

Debbie said: "We still are having a difficult time purchasing face masks, eye goggles and more."

She added: “I feel us funeral directors should be offered the test for coronavirus as we are in contact with a lot of people, families, ministers, colleagues and we always carry out safety measures but it would be peace of mind for us”

The ECHO contacted Public Health England for comment regarding Debbie's concerns.