As the rate of Covid-19 transmission fluctuates, so do the rules for funerals during the pandemic, however government guidelines have been designed to ensure that bereaved people are treated with respect, sensitivity, and dignity, while ensuring they and those officiating the ceremony are protected from the risk of infection.
Please also be aware that rules for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may differ from those in England.
How many people are allowed at a funeral?
Restrictions have recently come into force to reduce the number of people who are allowed to attend weddings but that isn’t the case for funerals where up to 30 people are still allowed.
That number does not include people who are working as part of the funeral service.
When gathering, you have to keep in mind that you will be with people from different households. In areas where the number of infections are highest i.e. in tier three different households are not allowed to mix either indoors or outdoors, however, funerals are an exception to the rule.
However every precaution is being taken to limit the risks.
Here are the recent guidelines:
- The venue’s capacity and attendance numbers must allow for social distancing of at least 2 metres or 3 steps to be maintained between individuals.
- Face coverings must be worn.
- There should be no more than 30 people in attendance but if the venue isn’t big enough then these numbers should be reduced so that the rules of social distancing can be strictly adhered to.
- Mourners who are self-isolating due to someone in their household or support bubble being unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 or as advised by NHS Test and Trace but are not symptomatic themselves can attend the funeral in person should they wish to do so, with processes put in place to minimise the risk of transmission.
- Mourners who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable should also be be able to attend, with processes put in place to minimise the risk of transmission.
- Any mourner who has COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend the funeral as they pose a risk to others; remote participation should be considered.
- Mourners coming into England who have travelled to England from countries that are not exempt from the requirement to self-isolate (within the last 14 days) are required to self-isolate for 14 days from the day they were last in a non-exempt country. However, such mourners can leave their place of self-isolation in limited circumstances including on compassionate grounds. This includes attending funerals.
- Mourners should also follow the advice on social distancing when travelling to and from the funeral gathering.
- Although 30 people can attend the funeral only 15 can attend the funeral wake under new rules, so families may consider deferring a celebration or memorial service.
- Face coverings should be worn in funeral cars as they count as public transport where masks are mandatory unless you’re exempt.
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