Funeral restrictions eased

14/04/2021   //   No Comments

With the UK nations gradually reducing the lockdown restrictions, this is how funeral rules have changed or will change shortly:

England – The key changes apply to wakes and commemorative events like stone settings and ashes scatterings. As of Monday, 12th April, the number of people permitted to attend such an event rose from six to 15 and this excludes anyone working. The number of mourners allowed at a funeral in England, both indoors and out, remains at a maximum of 30 people and in some instances the number will be decided by the venue’s capacity to enable social distancing. This means some funeral service venues may have to restrict services to fewer than 30 people.

Additionally, the updated guidance also contains new information about the types of venue that can host commemorative events. These include community centres, places of worship, burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoriums. Areas of exhibition centres, conference centres and holiday accommodation that are not bars and restaurants, conference halls or meeting rooms, may also be rented for this purpose.

Communal singing, with members of the congregation joining in, is now permitted at services and commemorative events that take place outdoors. Singing should not take place at indoor funeral services.

Travel from outside England to attend a funeral
People travelling from outside of England to attend a funeral must observe the following: where international travel to the UK is allowed, those who have arrived in England from countries outside the Common Travel Area (which is made up of UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) must quarantine for 10 days since they were last in a country outside the Common Travel Area. People who have travelled to England from a country not on the travel ban list may leave their place of self-isolation in limited circumstances, including on compassionate grounds. This may include attending a funeral of a household member or a close family member, or a friend (if neither household member nor close family member can attend the funeral). Travellers must continue to self-isolate at all other times.

People who are travelling to England having been in or through any country on the travel ban list (also called the ‘red list travel ban countries’) will typically be refused entry to the UK, unless they are a British or Irish national, or have residence rights in the UK. Travellers permitted to arrive in England from a red list travel ban country must quarantine in a government-approved ‘managed quarantine hotel’ from arrival until at least 10 days have passed since they were outside the country.

Those in managed quarantine may request permission to attend the funeral of a close family member or a member of their household. If a traveller tests positive during their managed quarantine period, they are strongly advised not to attend a funeral in person and attend virtually where possible, due to the risk posed to others. 

Full details of the changes can be found here

Northern Ireland – there is now no fixed upper limit to the number of people allowed to attend a funeral service. Instead, numbers are decided by a risk assessment at each venue, which must be able to host mourners in a socially distanced way, complying with the two-metre rule. Pre and post-funeral gatherings are not permitted. The remains of the deceased may be taken back to private homes, but wakes are not to be held and funeral services in private homes are not to take place. Further information can be found here.

Scotland – as of Monday, 26th April, a maximum of 50 people will be able to attend a funeral service, wake or commemorative event, providing they can do so in a physically distanced way. Alcohol can also be served at wakes from the 26th. Full information about the changes is available here.

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