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  • Writer's pictureJohn Gurd

New Government guidelines for funerals.

From 21 June, there will no longer be a maximum number of attendees set out in law for funerals or commemorative events. Instead, the number of attendees will be determined by how many people the venue or outdoor space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Events in COVID-secure venues, such as a place of worship or a hospitality venue

In a COVID-secure venue, where the premises are operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body (such as a place of worship or a hospitality venue), your venue manager will need to tell you the maximum number of people who will be able to attend.

Events in other venues, such as a garden of a private home

For events taking place in other venues, (such as a garden of a private home, on private land or in a public outdoor space), organisers will need to make the space as safe as possible.

If you plan on having more than 30 people in your outdoor space, you must do this by completing a COVID-19 risk assessment to determine how many people will be able to attend, and following this guidance to make the event as safe as possible. Please see the guidance on steps to take when holding an event in other venues, including a garden of a private home.

For any event which takes place indoors within a private home, in line with the wider rules for meeting indoors, up to 6 people, or more if everyone present is from the same 2 households, can attend.

Main principles

This guidance sets out how to arrange or attend a funeral or commemorative event during the coronavirus pandemic.

It sets out how this can be done in a manner that is safe and complies with legal requirements and social distancing guidelines. This will minimise the risk of exposure to infection for all individuals attending these events.

This guidance is designed to assist members of the public who are attending or involved in organising a funeral in England during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It has been developed to make sure that:

  • people are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect when someone dies

  • funerals and commemorative events can continue to take place while minimising the risk of infection

This guidance is for people of any faith, or none, and aims to balance the needs of the bereaved to mourn, with the need to minimise the spread of COVID-19 infection. While recognising the importance of these rituals and gatherings, the actions detailed in this guidance are important in reducing the spread of infection, particularly to clinically extremely vulnerable people who may be at risk of severe illness.

In the event of conflict between any applicable legislation (including the health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail.

This guidance applies in England. It remains under review and may be updated in line with the changing situation.

Guidance for venue managers and event organisers involved in professionally arranging a funeral is available through the website for the Advisory Group on the Management of the Deceased.

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