Posted: Friday, 24 April 2020 @ 14:14
With the spread of coronavirus also affect funeral the
government have now clarified their guidance.
Professor Paul Cosford CB, Emeritus Medical Director, Public
Health England, has said: "We are encouraging all mourners to practise
social distancing at funerals for the time being. This sadly means limiting the
number of mourners to immediate households and closest family members."
Here is some further information.
Who can attend a funeral?
The government had already asked families to restrict
attendees but they have explained the rules saying that "only members of
the deceased person’s household or close family members should attend
funerals". This means that sadly the dead person's best friends will
not be allowed to be there in person or more distant family.
However if the deceased has neither household or family
members in attendance, then it is possible for a modest number of friends to
No one who is showing symptoms of covid-19 should go,
self-isolating, or at high risk of Covid-19 should go.
Are there other options available?
It may be possible to provide online broadcasting of the
service so that mourners can watch the service without attending in person.
Are there rules at the funeral?
Social distancing must be maintained during the ceremony
Those who do attend need to adhere to social distancing
This means that the seats may need to be arranged with
enough distance in between them.
Mourners should leave 2m in between as they process in and
out of the venue and they should avoid shaking hands, hugging and many of the
natural responses during such a sad occasion.
They should also make soap and water or hand sanitiser
They should also avoid touching the coffin as they leave.
Are the rules being applied consistently?
However, there is huge disparity across the country over how
councils are enforcing the rules.
For example, Coventry introduced a limit of just five family
members at services. In other areas there is a maximum of 10 people, while some
crematoriums have announced that all relatives are barred from services
Can you hold a wake?
The lockdown has already closed pubs and restaurants meaning
that mourners could not gather for a traditional wake.
And even a gathering in someone's home is off limits because
it could increase the spread of the virus.
Instead mourners may want to arrange a celebration of the
person's life after the restrictions are lifted.
What if the person died from covid-19?
The rules are more restrictive and only close family can attend
The official guidance also warns that there is a "small
but real risk" of getting covid-19 from the dead body so family
should avoid touching their loved ones.
It says "mourners are strongly advised not to take part
in any rituals or practices that bring them into close contact with the body of
a person who has died from or with symptoms of COVID-19."