The Government has today (3 May 2021) announced that the legal limit of 30 mourners for a funeral in England will be removed as part of Step 3 of the roadmap (currently expected to take place from 17 May).
Instead, the number of people who can attend a funeral will be determined by how many people the venue such as the relevant place of worship or funeral home, can safely accommodate with social distancing. This includes both indoor and outdoor venues. Capacities of venues will vary, but many will allow significantly more than 30 people to attend.
Responding to the news, NAFD Chief Executive Jon Levett said: “The NAFD warmly welcomes the Prime Minister’s decision to drop the 30-limit at funerals in England and for funeral attendance to be determined by the venue’s size.
“Throughout the pandemic the Government has made sure immediate families were able to be there to say goodbye to a loved one and this has always been valued. But it’s critical that all those who are grieving are not forgotten in the reopening of society – and for many families, the current restrictions have meant telling people very close to the person that has died that they simply couldn’t be there.
“We’d still also like to see the Government move forward with its plan to trust the public to make informed, personal decisions about social contact – using testing as a safety mechanism – enabling us all to offer the simple comfort of holding hands, or giving a much-needed hug, to those who are isolated in their grief.”
In the Government’s statement, Communities Secretary Rt. Hon Robert Jenrick MP highlighted the impact of the pandemic on bereaved people: “The British people have made huge sacrifices throughout the pandemic to protect the NHS and save lives, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the deeply painful restrictions on the numbers attending funerals. Losing a loved one has been incredibly hard during the pandemic and I am pleased we are now in a position, thanks to everyone’s continued efforts and the rollout of the vaccine, to remove these limits and allow more friends and family to come together and pay their respects.”
Limits for other life or commemorative events at Step 3, such as weddings and wakes, are expected to remain as set out in the roadmap.