The regulations for funerals across all parts of the UK are being strictly enforced by Funeral Directors, Crematoria and Churches in the interests of everyone's safety. The rules remain the same for all tiers. 

Covid-19 has been shown to spread easily and quickly, and no-one is immune. If you plan ahead and take their advice, you can be sure that everything will be done to ensure your loved one's funeral goes smoothly and is as stress free as it can be in such difficult circumstances.

Funeral Directors and Crematoria have offered us the following advice to anyone planning a funeral during the pandemic, whatever the cause of death.

  1. NO-ONE who has tested positive for Covid-19, been in contact with someone who has tested positive or was a member of the household of someone who died of Covid-19 must attend the funeral. Please, in everyone's interests, do not break this rule however hard it feels at the time. Please make this clear to every person you are inviting to attend.  Breaking this rule puts others in the family, funeral directors and crematorium staff at risk - no-one wants to attend more funerals.
  2. Most crematoria are able to webcast the service for families so that those who cannot attend can still be part of the service and watch safely at home. Please be aware, however, that webcasting needs to be authorised by the family arranging the funeral because of safeguarding issues so there is a form to sign.  A minimum of 48 hours notice is required in most crematoria SO PLEASE ASK FOR A WEBCAST IN GOOD TIME. You will be sent a link which you can share with as many people as you wish.
  3. Please do not encourage friends and family who you are unable to include in your invited group of 30 to go to the church or crematorium. People are not permitted to gather, even outdoors, because of the danger of spreading the virus. Please respect this - it is in everyone's interests. Plan instead to celebrate your loved one's life with a memorial service or a wake next year when the danger of the virus spreading has passed.
  4. Please be aware that all funeral services at crematoria are currently lasting about 25 minutes maximum. This is to minimise the risk of infections. Crematoria are also very busy at this time of year so it is important that all bereaved families and ministers stick to the time they have been allocated to avoid causing delays to funerals following. Your celebrant or minister will be asked to ensure the service finishes on time. Eulogies need to be limited under these restrictions.
  5. Inside the crematorium or church, please be aware of the following; 
    1. The staff are required by law to only permit 30 people into the chapel. As they do not know who has been invited to attend, please ensure your guests arrive on time and make themselves known to the Funeral Director or Chapel Attendant. No-one will be permitted to enter once there are 30 people (including the family) in the Chapel. Anyone who arrives after that will be asked to leave. Please do not get upset with the Chapel Attendant or Funeral Director about this. This is the law. 
    2. Guests attending a service will be told where to sit, with social distancing strictly enforced. This is difficult when people want nothing more than to be comforted or be close to their loved ones. Sadly, this is something we all have to bear in order to protect each other from Covid-19. Please ask your guests to abide by this rule and respect the staff enforcing it.
    3. Although singing is not currently permitted during funeral services, the Church or Crematorium can still play the music you or your loved one would have liked for the service. The organist can still play hymns and favourite music, or your choice of recorded music can be played to make your service feel special.
    4. At the end of a funeral service in a crematorium, people often want to touch the coffin. Please understand that this is another area of risk whilst we live in a pandemic. Gathering around the catafalque, touching the surfaces and the coffin, will not be permitted because of the risk of spreading Covid-19. At the moment, there are often many funeral services each day. Your group may be virus-free but the previous funeral group may not be. As hard as it is, please do not put yourself or your family at risk. This rule is also being enforced in the interests of everyone's safety.
    5. Family and friends often gather in the crematorium flower court or outside the church to talk and look at the flowers. This is not safe to do at the moment and people should leave immediately on exit from the chapel or the church.

This is a very challenging time for everyone and even more challenging for those who have been bereaved. Funeral Directors, churches and crematoria staff know that the regulations are not allowing people to say goodbye to their loved ones in the way they would have wished. They do not want this for bereaved families and would prefer not to have to enforce the law at funerals - it doesn't feel right for anyone.

So, please do not challenge them or get frustrated with them. They are working especially hard at the moment to ensure that the goodbyes are as good as they can be, but with the added responsibility of ensuring that everyone is kept safe. Please respect them. Please be kind to them. They are on your side.