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:  As part of the next step of easing lockdown restrictions, the 30-person legal limit has been removed. This means any number of mourners will be able to gather as long as the venue can comply with social distancing.

It is now possible to have a wake, reception, ashes scattering or other linked event, for up to 15 people. 

Wales: Numbers are now subject to the venue’s COVID-secure limit. Singing will still not be permitted. Wakes of up to 30 people are permitted in outdoor venues from 26 April. 

Scotland:Up to 50 people can attend a funeral service or post-funeral gathering such as a wake (in a regulated venue) in all of Scotland. This is provided that the venue size and layout will permit the necessary physical distancing between households to be in place. This means the number of people able to attend may be less, and sometimes significantly less, than the maximum for the level the venue is in. There are plans for numbers to be expanded although this is not yet confirmed and will still be dependent on the venue size and layout.

Northern Ireland: The maximum number permitted is now dependent on the size and layout of the venue. Social distancing is is still required. Post-funeral gatherings (numbers to be informed by a risk assessment for the venue) can now happen. This will be subject to review. 

All events are dependent on the situation at the time as new variants are emerging and affecting different cities and urban areas. 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 discourage friends and family who you are unable to include in your invited group from going 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.