Advice about funerals during COVID

We understand that this is a really difficult time and know how much more difficult it must be with new guidelines in place. These are in place to keep you and your family safe and are being regularly reviewed to make sure the best options are available for those dealing with a bereavement. 

Funerals should be held without delay and it is advised to have a funeral within 29 days of a person's death and we recommend having a memorial when restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so you have as much opportunity to say goodbye to your loved one in the way that is right for you and your family.

If you are having to grieve for a loved one, there is lots of support available, please see our dealing with a loss page for more information and visit our talk to someone page for support numbers.


Current guidelines

Who can attend

  • Up to 30 people may attend a funeral. This depends on the size of the venue. 
  • Up to 6 people may attend a post-funeral event, such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering. 
  • People who are clinically vulnerable (shielded) are able to attend but with measures put in place to reduce their risk
  • any mourner who has COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend the funeral as they pose a risk to others; remote participation should be considered
  • mourners who are self-isolating due to someone in their household or support bubble being unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 or as advised by NHS Test and Trace, but are not symptomatic themselves, should be facilitated to attend the funeral in person should they wish to do so, with processes put in place to minimise the risk of transmission

The ceremony

  • General social distancing and self-isolation guidelines must be followed for you and your family's safety
  • The choice of burial or cremation should be respected
  • A celebrant (minister) or the family's faith or belief should be present even if there is no congregation
  • Ceremonial words should be said in line with the family’s choice but these may be shorter than usual
  • If there are the facilities to do so, the funeral should be able to be live-streamed or filmed

Care is being taken to make funerals as normal as possible, within social distancing regulations. Minimum funeral standards are in place to support the final journeys of the deceased. They provide families with assurances that the marking of their loved one’s life will take place with respect, dignity and compassion.  These can be viewed online:

Please speak to your funeral director, faith or community leader for guidance as this may vary.

For full guidance, please see government guidance for managing a funeral.


Faith specific advice

For faith community organisations' guidance, please see The Inter Faith Network website.


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