Funeral Industry News

COVID-19: Updates on Regulations and Guidance, Face Coverings and Supplementary Form for Cremation

December 16, 2021 by No Comments | Category COVID-19, Cremation authorities, Face coverings, Funeral directors, Guidance, Regulations

Regulations and guidance:

On 14 December the First Minister outlined new measures and guidance that will come into effect tomorrow, 17 December, in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and to support staff and those arranging funerals.

Businesses have a duty to manage workplace risks under existing health and safety legislation, in addition to the specific requirements set out in the Coronavirus Regulations.  The new regulations state that a person who is responsible for a place of worship, carrying on a business or providing a service must:

  • have regard to guidance about measures to minimise risk of exposure  to coronavirus; and
  • take such of these measures as are reasonably practicable to minimise the incidence and spread of coronavirus on the premises, for example measures which limit close face-to-face interaction, such as supporting working from home, making adjustments to the premises and putting in place protective measures such as signage, screens and other mitigations

You will wish to review the relevant updated guidance and Regulations set out below and update your risk assessments as required :

Face coverings:

Currently, a person is permitted to remove their face covering temporarily while indoors in certain circumstances, for example while leading the funeral service or providing the eulogy. From tomorrow, the regulations increase the distance this person must keep from others from 1m to 2m. If maintaining 2m from others is not possible, the person must be separated from others by a partition, or keep their face covering on. This change will support minimising the risk of exposure to coronavirus and enable social contact to continue in the safest way possible.

Supplementary form for cremation:

In 2020 a supplementary form for cremation was introduced, for use in circumstances where it was difficult to obtain signatures from those applying for cremation.  While this form should only be used where funeral directors are unable to obtain a signature from the applicant, the form is still available and can be downloaded here: Supplementary Form For Cremation Applications – April 2020

As before, cremation authorities have the right to ask for additional information about the application, but can accept the supplementary form in place of a signature from the applicant.

It is not appropriate for funeral directors to sign the cremation application form.  The signature section should be left blank and the supplementary form should be completed by the funeral director.  Funeral directors should keep an audit trail that clearly shows the instructions on the application form are those of the applicant.

The inbox remains active for all funeral pandemic related feedback, questions or concerns.