Last updated: 6th January 2021
COVID-19 is affecting all of our lives, below is some useful information about the impact of COVID-19 on funerals and funeral planning. For additional help and advice please contact us on 0800 689 1060 (this is a free phone number available 24 hours a day). It is very apparent to all of us that the rules regarding COVID-19 are changing on a daily basis, whilst our aim is to keep the information on this page as up to date as possible we cannot guarantee its accuracy so please do Contact Us should you require.
England, Scotland and Wales are all currently in lockdown – although there is some variation between the countries – the requirement is the same for each: Stay at home and avoid travel unless it is essential. Travel to a funeral is permitted. The government advises that only close friends and family attend funerals and that social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
Should you need to attend a funeral in a different country (for example you need to travel from England to Scotland) you may require a letter from your funeral director to confirm authorisation to attend – if we are appointed as the funeral director we are able to provide this. Over-night stays are not permitted unless they are for specified work purposes or exceptional circumstances; therefore should you require to stay away from your current place of residence to attend a funeral or need to travel between countries, we recommend you consult with the local authority of the area where you wish to stay or visit.
There must be no more than 30 people attending a funeral in England, no more than 20 in Scotland and no more than 15 in Wales. Anyone working is not included as part of the person limit; this includes funeral directors, officiants (such as a Minister or Celebrant) and employees of the venue.
When inside the venue face masks must be worn at all times and social distancing is required by all attendees that do no live with each other or are part of a support bubble. Children under the age of 11 years old are not required to wear face masks or those who are exempt from wearing face masks due to a medical condition and have suitable documentation to confirm this is the case.
Attendance should also be within the capacity limits of the premises so that social distancing can be strictly adhered to. In some cases that may be less than the permitted number of people, although the majority of crematoriums can accommodate the permitted number and adhere to social distancing requirements.
Persons who are self-isolating for any reason (including the requirement to do so when entering the UK from countries not exempt from the 14 day quarantine requirement) can attend funerals if they are not symptomatic themselves and have not tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days. Any person that has COVID symptoms, or has tested positive for COVID-19 with the last 10 days, should be self-isolating and are not allowed to attend funerals.
For those who are not allowed to attend a funeral many crematoria are providing webcast facilities to enable persons to attend funerals remotely.
A proportion of burial grounds are only providing the facility for a grave side service and therefore it is advised to check with the place of burial as to what facilities are available for a service.
It is advised only a modest number of family and friends of the deceased should travel to and attend the funeral. Overnight stays away from the home are also permitted, though it is advised this should only be with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (in which case social distancing should be maintained).
Mourners are advised to travel to funerals using their own transport. Use of limousines and taxes is restricted to those living with each other or part of a support bubble per vehicle.
Wakes are not currently permitted during lockdown.
Purchasing a pre-paid funeral plan is not affected by the COVID pandemic. Pre-paid funeral plans can be set up in the same way as before the pandemic. When you purchase a pre-paid funeral plan hopefully it will not need to used for some time and the rules for attending funerals will be as they are at the time of death (not at the time of purchase). To compare pre-paid funeral plans to find the right plan for you at the best price please Click Here.
An unattended cremation without a service, also known as a Direct Cremation, has increased in popularity over recent years and even more so during the COVID pandemic. This is a lower cost option and provides the opportunity for family and friends to celebrate the life of the deceased in their own way, such as arranging a Memorial service or an informal gathering at a given location such as home, a place special to the deceased or hospitality venue. For more information regarding the direct cremation option please contact us on 0800 689 1060 or Click Here