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. 

Lifting restrictions on attendance

Funeral directors have worked hard to support bereaved families in creating smaller, personalised and meaningful services. Although we are now emerging slowly from lockdown, there will still be uncertainty over the precise date when limits on funeral services and wakes in the four UK nations will be lifted. Families are encouraged to work with their funeral director to say goodbye to a loved one within the restrictions, rather than seeking to delay until such time as they might be lifted.

England: There are no immediate changes to the thirty people permitted to attend a funeral – although in Step 2 of the roadmap (from 29 March 2021) it will be possible to have a wake, reception, ashes scattering or other linked event, for up to 15 people. In England only six people (not including staff) can attend an ashes scattering, ritual washing or other linked event or custom associated with a funeral. 

Wales: Numbers are now subject to the venue’s COVID-secure limit. Singing will still not be permitted.

Scotland: The maximum number of people allowed to attend a funeral in Scotland will be increased to 50 from 26th April. This includes post-funeral events and wakes but no alcohol will be permitted. Numbers are expected to increase again at the end of June, subject to “stakeholder engagement” and capacity constraints at venues.

Northern Ireland: The maximum number permitted to attend remains at 25. 

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. 
  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.  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 to go to the church or crematorium. 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. 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 rules which still apply; 
    1. The staff are required by law to only permit the permitted number of 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. 
    2. Guests attending a service will be told where to sit, with social distancing strictly enforced.
    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. 
    4. Gathering around the catafalque, touching the surfaces and the coffin, will not be permitted because of the risk of spreading Covid-19. 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 still 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.