We'll be updating this page with any information and advice regarding funerals and the coronavirus outbreak.
If you're struggling to pay for a funeral, our helpline is open. We have also put together a practical guide for organising a funeral during the pandemic.
The Government advises that attended funerals can take place as long as people adhere to this guidance, which includes restrictions on the number of attendees. Although government guidance does allow funerals to be conducted in places of worship, most are currently closed and the majority of funerals are being held at the graveside or crematorium.
The guidance states that the number of mourners should be restricted so that a safe distance of at least two metres (three steps) can be maintained between individuals. They also state that only the following people should attend:
- Members of the person’s household
- Close family members
- Or if the above are unable to attend, close friends
- Attendance of a celebrant of choice, should the bereaved request this
Other key elements of the guidance, aimed at minimising the risk of transmission, include:
- Any mourner showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms (a new continuous cough or a high temperature) should not attend as they pose a risk to others;
- Mourners who are self-isolating for 14 days due to someone in their household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) should not attend if they have any symptoms of any kind, even if these are very mild. If they are not symptomatic they can attend, but with processes in place to minimise the risk of transmission, as per the guidance.
- Mourners who are in vulnerable or extremely vulnerable groups can also attend with these processes in place, but they are advised not to if there are others attending who are self-isolating due to another member of the household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus.
The government asks that funerals are not delayed with the hope of holding them once restrictions have been lifted. “To ensure organisations managing funerals are able to cope with the increased number of deaths, it is important that people do not delay funerals. We understand how difficult this will be for the families and friends of lost loved ones, however the current guidance will be in place for the foreseeable future for public safety reasons.”
Further guidance from the National Association of Funeral Directors is as follows:
Wherever possible, funerals should be arranged over the phone or via electronic means. If the funeral must be arranged in person, social distancing guidelines should be respected;
- Do not arrange a funeral in person if anyone involved has Covid-19 symptoms or should be in self isolation;
- At risk groups are strongly advised not to visit the chapel of rest;
- It is recommended that limousines are only used if there is no alternative option and, if used, should only be used to carry those living in the same household;
- During the service, all mourners should remain two metres apart from anyone not living in their household at all times;
- Live streaming of the funeral service may be possible – enabling others to still participate without putting themselves and others at risk;
- Don’t publicly advertise the funeral details to reduce the risk of other, well-meaning mourners arriving unexpectedly.
Please be aware that this is only guidance. Some funeral directors and crematoria are imposing their own restrictions and making individual choices about how to operate during the pandemic.
Guidance from faith organisations:
- Church of England - see FAQ section ‘Can funerals still go ahead?
- Catholic Church for England and Wales
- Muslim Council of Britain