Frequently asked questions
Please find below a range of frequently asked questions for bereaved families about arranging funerals during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. If you have a question that is not answered here, please email email@example.com.
Arranging and attending a funeral
From Monday 19 July 2021, there will be no legal limits on the number of people who can attend funerals or commemorative events. Venue operators may choose to set their own limits.
From 19 July, you will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with, and venues are not required to follow social distancing rules. However, keeping your distance and limiting close contact can help reduce the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. People who are self-isolating or who are in quarantine following international travel may be present at a funeral where a legal exemption applies. Keeping a distance of 2 metres is strongly advised for those attending a funeral during their self-isolation or quarantine period following international travel.
COVID-secure rules, including table service requirements and restrictions on singing, chanting and dancing, will no longer apply.
Face coverings will no longer be required by law in any setting. However the government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas.
Further details of what is permitted from 19 July for funerals in England can be found here.
From Monday 19 July 2021, up to 200 people will be able to attend funeral services and post-funeral gatherings, with a new one-metre physical distancing (down from two metres), which applies throughout all regulated venues. In public venues, groups of up to 15 people from 15 households are allowed to gather during funeral services and post-funeral gatherings without physically distancing, in line with general guidelines. One-metre distancing should be observed from others outside this group. At a private dwelling, similarly 15 people from 15 households are allowed to gather outside, while inside limits are 8 people from 4 households. No physical distancing is required at private dwellings.
Test and Protect remains an important measure in responding to the pandemic, and requirements to wear face coverings indoors will remain in place.
Further details of what is permitted from 19 July for funerals in Scotland can be found here.
Funeral services are not permitted in private homes. The number permitted to attend funerals in places of worship, funeral homes, the City of Belfast Crematorium or at a burial ground is to be informed by a risk assessment for the venue.
Where the death is not COVID-19 related, the remains of the deceased may be taken back to private homes and existing restrictions on household apply.
A person responsible for organising or operating a funeral or associated event elsewhere must comply with guidance on managing funerals and associated gatherings issued by the Department of Health.
For information about the City of Belfast Crematorium, visit the Belfast City Council website.
Further details of what is permitted for funerals in Northern Ireland can be found here.
People can attend a funeral in Wales if:
- they are the person organising the funeral
- they are invited to the funeral, or
- the are the carer of a person who is attending the funeral (either because they are the organiser or they have been invited)
Everyone attending a funeral, whether at a crematorium, place of worship or cemetery, should take all reasonable measures to stay 2 metres away from someone they don’t live with or care for. This will help to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Those responsible for running the crematorium, place of worship or cemetery will make arrangements to maintain this distance between people. This will mean there are limits on the maximum number of people who can physically attend a funeral. This will be clearly communicated to you before the funeral takes place.
To help protect against the spread of coronavirus, the Welsh Government states that attendance at funerals should be by invitation only.
Further details of what is permitted for funerals in Wales can be found here.
The rules on face coverings are changing in July 2021 in many parts of the UK. Please check local requirements with your funeral director.
Those who are self isolating should arranged a funeral over the phone or via email, wherever possible. Please also limit the number of people attending in person to arrange the funeral. Do not arrange a funeral in person if anyone involved has symptoms.
If you wish to view the deceased person by visiting the Chapel of Rest, please make arrangements with your funeral director.
In terms of whether funeral firms to offer viewings, ritual washing or other aspects of personal care, In the early days - when understanding of COVID was still emerging - guidance was to avoid all but necessary care for deceased people and so firms were understandably very cautious.
Now, these services are permitted under certain circumstances, but the decision to offer them remains with the individual funeral business, based on a risk assessment of their individual circumstances and ability to offer such services safely, given supervisory and social distancing requirements in the guidance. Some firms have taken the decision that they can offer these services, while others have decided they are still not able to at present.
This is something that should be discussed at the outset between the client family and funeral director to make sure the funeral director can meet their needs. As part of our Funeral Director Code, the NAFD is committed to ensuring funeral firms act transparently and so we would expect our members to explain that this is their firm’s policy, rather than Government guidance.
Most places of worship are now able to hold funeral services. Please speak to your funeral director for further details.
The rules on what is permitted at a funeral is changing in July 2021 in many parts of the UK. Please check with your funeral director.
It is likely that total funeral costs will be lower in some cases, as some of the things you might normally associate with a funeral (may not currently be applicable. Speak to your funeral director about the range of services they are able to offer you.
However, for anyone who may have difficulty in covering the cost of a funeral, the NAFD has been in discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions about the Social Fund Funeral Payment to see how it can be adapted to work more effectively during the pandemic outbreak.
Click below for details.
There are also other Government options for support, if needed, such as the Childrens Funeral Fund in England.
Please contact the funeral plan provider to understand how recent restrictions might affect the delivery of the plan. If you have concerns, or need help tracing a funeral plan, you should contact the Funeral Planning Authority using the form available on their website: funeralplanningauthority.co.uk.
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