This is how many people can legally attend a funeral in England - and when rules will change under Covid roadmap

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:10 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:15 pm

Covid lockdown rules have put restrictions on the number of people who can gather in one place, including funerals.

A limit on the number of mourners able to pay their respects in person has long-been in the government’s guidance to prevent coronavirus from spreading.

Yet, as restrictions begin to ease - starting with the return of pupils to schools, so do the rules in place around life events such as funerals and wakes across England.

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Prime minister Boris Johnson set out a roadmap for easing Covid restrictions, which includes four key dates in the hope of a return to normality come the summer.

How many people can attend a funeral?

Upto 30 people can attend a funeral indoors or outdoors in England.

This is the maximum number of guests allowed to attend a funeral under lockdown rules and does not include people working at the venue.

In some circumstances the number of people in attendance will be a lot less due to Covid guideline compliance, such as social distancing measures.

What Covid measures are in place at funerals?

All current measures to prevent the risk of spreading Covid need to be observed when attending a funeral, either inside or outside, under the current government guidance.

This includes maintaining social distancing rules of two metres with anyone outside your household or support bubble, regular hand washing, and wearing masks - particularly indoors.

The recommendations include no singing, shouting or raising your voice at a funeral, as the projection might lead to an increased chance of spreading the virus through the air.

Can I attend a funeral if I have to self-isolate?

Unfortunately, if you have to self-isolate due to Covid symptoms or testing positive for the virus, then the guidance states not to attend a funeral.

There is some flexibility with the rule, depending on your connection with the deceased.

The rules allow someone to break self-isolation if you are a close family member - a partner, parent, sibling or grandparent - and must only attend the funeral.

The current government guidance states: “Even if you are a close family member of the deceased, we strongly recommend that you attend remotely if possible.”

Can a wake be held after the funeral?

During the lockdown, a small gathering is permitted for a wake or other commemorative events such as stone setting ceremonies or the scattering of ashes.

A maximum of six people can attend a commencement event at a public venue.

If the wake is held in a private home then only people who live in the house, or are classed as part of the household as part of a support bubble, can attend.

Food and drink - or light refreshments - can be served. Sharing food, cutlery and dishes should be avoided, as should touching communal objects.

When will the guidance around funerals change?

Under the government guidance, funerals can continue with up to 30 people in attendance.

This will change at steps two, three and four of Mr Johnson’s roadmap, as a gradual relaxing of coronavirus restrictions takes place in the run up to the summer.

The number of people attending a funeral will be capped at 30 and not change until 21 June at the earliest under the plans, when it is hoped all legal limits on social contact will be removed.

From 12 April, the number of people able to attend commemorative events such as wakes will rise from six to 15. This number will increase to 30 from 17 May, at the earliest.