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  • Writer's pictureJohn Gurd

Funerals and coronavirus

There are different rules about organising and attending funerals during coronavirus depending on where you live.

Who can go to a funeral?

Funerals can still take place. Organisations that provide funeral services, such as funeral directors, are still open.

Ask your funeral director, local council or the place you intend to have the funeral about their current services and who can attend. There may be restrictions in place, such as a time limit for a service.

Usually the person organising the funeral can invite a small number of people who were close to the person who died. This might include people they lived with and close family members or friends. If someone needs a carer to be able to go to the funeral, the carer can also go.

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How many people can go to a funeral?

There are different rules on how many people can go to a funeral during coronavirus, depending on where you live.


In England, a maximum of 30 people can go to a funeral. Some venues might not allow 30 people, if they don't have the space for them to safely social distance.

Can I hold a wake after the funeral?

For many people, holding a wake after the funeral ceremony is an important part of remembering the person who died. There are different rules about holding wakes depending where you live.

If you're organising a wake, think about how you can involve people who can't go. You might want to consider delaying the wake until social distancing measures are relaxed.


Up to six people can go to a wake or ceremonial events such as stone setting or ash scattering. But you must socially distance from people you don't live with or aren't in your support bubble.

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Can I travel or stay overnight when attending a funeral?

You can travel to another area or another country in the UK to attend a funeral.

There are different rules on staying overnight depending on where the funeral is taking place.


You can travel and stay overnight away from your home to attend a funeral.

Hotels can stay open for anyone attending a funeral, but different households should socially distance within the hotel. Some hotels and accommodations might be closed, so check with them first if you’ve booked to stay.

Involving people who can’t go to the funeral

Going to a funeral is an important part of the grieving process for many people. Not being able to attend can feel very upsetting.

To include people who can't attend, you could:

  • send them music, poems or readings from the funeral

  • play a recorded message or read some words on their behalf at the funeral

  • light a candle or lay flowers on their behalf

  • read the names of people who couldn't attend

  • ask people to share their memories of the person – they could send letters, photos, favourite songs or recorded messages

  • create a virtual memorial book where people can leave messages

  • take pictures, record the funeral or live stream it. Some funeral directors may be able to help you with this

  • ask people to light a candle, pray or have a moment of reflection at the time of the funeral

  • offer to hold a gathering at a later date to bring everyone together to remember the person.

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You may not feel able to do these things and that's OK too. Remember that it's a difficult time for you as well – you're grieving for someone you cared about. You could see if another family member or friend can help with these things.

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