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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 info@nafd.org.uk.

 

Arranging and attending a funeral

England, Wales and Scotland

In England, Wales and Scotland, there are now no legal limits on the number of people who can attend funerals or commemorative events and venues are not required to follow social distancing rules.  Venue operators may choose to set their own limits.

However, keeping your distance and limiting close contact can help reduce the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. People who are required to self-isolate, or who are in quarantine following international travel, may be present at a funeral where a legal exemption applies. Keeping a distance of two metres is strongly advised for those attending a funeral during their self-isolation or quarantine period following international travel.

In Wales, face coverings remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises. In Scotland and in England they are recommended as a sensible precautionary measure.

Northern Ireland

From 29 July 2021, amended regulations permit 10 people (not including children aged 12 or under) from no more than three households to gather indoors at a private dwelling; or if one household has 10 people, the maximum is increased to 15 people (not including children aged 12 or under) from no more than three households.

Face coverings remain mandatory when entering and leaving a place of worship for a funeral service and it is strongly recommended that they are worn for the duration of the service, particularly when singing or moving around the premises.

Funeral services are not yet permitted at private dwellings and should only take place in places of worship, funeral homes, the City of Belfast Crematorium or at the burial ground.

England, Wales and Scotland

In Wales, face coverings remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises. In Scotland and in England they are recommended as a sensible precautionary measure.

Northern Ireland

Face coverings remain mandatory when entering and leaving a place of worship for a funeral service and it is strongly recommended that they are worn for the duration of the service, particularly when singing or moving around the premises.

 

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.

Finances

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.

England and Wales

Scotland

Northern Ireland

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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