Funeral Industry News
Funeral Attendance During COVID-19
Throughout the pandemic, there continues to be a risk of transmission of COVID-19 wherever families and communities come together following the death of a loved one.
We understand that funerals are extremely important events and that is why funeral services are not caught by the general restrictions on gatherings.
However, funerals are highly emotional and incredibly difficult events in our lifetimes. They are unique and intimate. Every funeral celebrates and commemorates a life lived and a loved one no longer with us. Because of this, it is more likely that vital public health measures to help mitigate or break the chain of transmission of COVID-19, such as physical distancing, will be forgotten. This is completely understandable at a time of grief, when people need the support of their close family and friends.
It is for this reason the Scottish Government has taken a cautious approach by restricting the total number of people interacting with each other at funerals to a maximum of 20 people to reduce the risk of transmission as we continue to seek to suppress the virus.
We thank funeral directors for communicating the current rules and restrictions detailed in the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for funeral services with families arranging funerals.
We are aware, however, of an increasing number of reports that funeral services are taking place with numbers in excess of the maximum of 20 people.
We respectfully ask funeral directors to continue to remind families of the guidance and to support families to understand the importance of the restrictions, which are in place to help protect the health of all of us. You may find it useful to share a copy of the funeral services guidance with the family, so that they can consider it in their own time.
In addition, funeral directors are requested not to advertise the date and time of the funeral. Funeral directors may also respectfully ask families not to publish details of the funeral service on social media or otherwise, to help reduce the risk of large numbers attending.
We understand that these conversations may be difficult; families are bereaved and they may have many family members and friends who wish to attend to pay their respects. The current restrictions are detailed below to assist in these discussions.
The Current Restrictions
Those organising a funeral or advising others on attendance at a funeral service, should review and take into account all of the following:
- In-person attendance at funeral services is currently limited to a maximum of 20 people in all areas of Scotland. This is not including the funeral director, venue staff or celebrant but it does include children of all ages and any person hired by the family. Numbers of attendees will also be based on the size of the venue and its ability to maintain strict physical distancing measures, so the number able to attend may be less than the maximum number for the area;
- In areas which are under lockdown, post-funeral gatherings such as wakes and funeral teas are not permitted.
- we strongly discourage people who are not counted in the maximum number from going along to the funeral service and gathering outside the crematorium, funeral director service room, or in the burial ground;
- all attendees must maintain at least 2 metres distance from each other at all times (unless they are from the same household, or are a carer and the person assisted by the carer). References to a household include an extended household;
- if available, those who cannot attend a funeral service in person should consider joining remotely from home via electronic means or viewing a recording of the service;
- all attendees should maintain good hand and cough hygiene, both before and after attending a service e.g. such as regular hand washing, disposing of tissues etc., safely, and ideally, taking them home to dispose of;
- if a person is showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection or has tested positive with COVID-19 they should not attend a funeral service in person, during the period they are required to self-isolate because they pose a risk to others;
- if a person is not symptomatic or has not tested positive with COVID-19, but is self-isolating due to another member of their household either showing symptoms of COVID-19 or their household member has tested positive with COVID-19, that person should not attend a funeral service in person. They should instead continue to follow household self-isolation advice; and
- if a person is not symptomatic or has not tested positive with COVID-19, but is self-isolating as a result of contact with a positive case (identified through contact tracing), they should not attend a funeral service in person. This person should instead follow all contact tracing and self-isolation advice provided to them.
For more information on the restrictions already in place: