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What kind of funeral can I arrange?

Funeral directors remain absolutely committed to supporting all bereaved people at this very difficult time, while minimising the risk of infection to both at-risk groups of mourners and to all those in key worker roles.

The guidelines for funerals are designed to minimise the risk of transmission between mourners and to key workers (including funeral, cemetery and crematorium staff) so apply equally to all funeral services.

England

Updated government guidance for funerals in England, released on 9 July:

    • allows both family and friends to attend a funeral (e.g. removal of limitation to close family/household only);
    • increases the number of people who can attend a funeral, up to 30 maximum in places of worship and private dwellings – even if venue capacity is higher. Business and venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host larger groups;
    • allows mourners to stay overnight outside their home. Mourners returning from overseas who quarantining may still attend the funeral; and
    • advises on the safe management of funeral venues, including keeping a note of attendance for Track and Trace purposes.

Funerals may still be held in areas where there is a local lock down in England.

Scotland

  • Up to 20 people can attend funerals
  • Previous restrictions on the categories of people who could attend funerals have been removed
  • Gatherings after funerals, such as a wake, remain subject to the rules that apply for all other indoor and outdoor gatherings.
  • The new 20 limit for funerals also remains subject to “strict rules” on the two-metre physical distancing.

Close families who are in high-risk categories or are self-isolating should be enabled to safely attend wherever possible.

There may be additional restrictions in place at the service venue. Please check these in advance  with your funeral director.

Wales

People can attend a funeral in Wales if:

  • they are the person organising the funeral
  • they are invited to the funeral, or
  • they 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.

Each venue sets limits on the numbers able to attend the funeral within social distancing guidelines. Please check with your funeral director..

Northern Ireland

Funeral services in Northern Ireland can be conducted in a place of worship or in a funeral home. The size and circumstances of the venue will determine the maximum number that can attend the service safely whilst observing social distancing of at least two metres, wherever possible.

It is recommended that face coverings are used for indoor services.

Arranging the funeral

In England, if you would like your funeral director to visit you in your own home, they will not be required to wear personal protective equipment. However, you should:

  • maintain a safe distance (at least 2 metres)
  • on entry to the home, provide them with facilities to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds – where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used, and funeral directors should carry this with them at all times

If you wish to visit a funeral home to arrange a funeral, then in England and Scotland you will be required to wear a face covering (in Scotland this is already in force, in England it becomes mandatory on 8 August).

Funerals should not be arranged in person if anyone involved has symptoms or should be self-isolating, in accordance with government advice.

If you wish to view the deceased person by visiting the Chapel of Rest, please discuss this with your funeral director.

On the day

Many firms have now safely re-introduced limousines for bereaved clients, following guidance to ensure they can be used safely, including the use of perspex screens,  limiting the number travelling to ensure they can sit as far back as possible and additional cleaning.

Face coverings are required during all indoor funeral services (including places of worship, burial ground chapels and crematoria) in England and Scotland. In Northern Ireland and Wales face coverings are recommended but not mandatory.

Webcasting/live streaming of the funeral service (using professional or personal devices) may still be possible – thereby enabling other mourners to still participate without putting themselves and others at risk of harm.

Please don’t publicly advertise the funeral details to reduce the risk of other, well-meaning mourners arriving unexpectedly. This is not permitted under current social distancing laws. and they may be turned away at the door, which could be distressing for them and the bereaved family. It will also place your employees at unnecessary risk of harm.

All charitable collections should be done online.

Further information

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for further information.

The NAFD fully appreciates that, despite these changes, the current restrictions remain extremely tough for bereaved families. However, they are there to protect as many lives as possible and so it is important they continue to be adhered to.

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