Coronavirus Advice and Information for Funerals

Danielle Houghton

Community Writer

The ordinary way of living as we know it has changed hastily by the emergence of the new, unexpected challenge the whole world has had to confront – the outbreak of the disastrous Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. As a result, governments and organizations have set new rules and restrictions to safeguard the population and stop the further spread of the virus.

The UK government has allowed the public to organize weddings, celebrations, events, memorials and funerals but with a new set of guidelines and restrictions that are constantly changed and updated according to the Coronavirus pandemic situation in the country.

If you have lost someone during the Covid-19 pandemic, both from Covid-19 and other casual causes, this article will provide you with instructions for you to help understand what to do.

Where can I find the latest updates of funeral restrictions during the pandemic in the UK?

You can arrange a funeral and attend a funeral during the pandemic in England and, it is advised to hold the funerals as soon as possible. Yet, some venues may still have certain restrictions, so it is better to check beforehand the rules with the funeral venue you are selecting to organize the funeral service.
The UK government has allowed bereaved families to organize funerals and funeral wakes during the pandemic under certain conditions. These funeral restrictions are constantly updated by the Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG), formed by the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), other funeral related organizations.

The following information is accurate as of January 13 2022.

Can I hold a funeral wake during the pandemic?

Yes, you can. While there are different rules and restrictions associated with a funeral wake, it is better to be updated in arranging a funeral wake. You can check the government websites for further information.

How many people are allowed at a funeral in England?

Although the number of funeral attendees is still limited in Scotland, there are no legal limits on the number of people who can attend a funeral or a commemorative event in England. You should consider that the risk of spreading Covid-19 is higher in a funeral, as some attendees who are self-isolating will also be legally exempted to participate in the funeral. If you are in self-isolation or quarantine, it is better to reconsider travelling to a funeral to ensure the safety of your loved ones and the other attendees from the risk of Covid-19 infection.

What are the safety guidelines to follow in attending a funeral?

Face coverings are required by attendees and by the staff in crematoria, burial grounds and public-facing funeral offices unless an exemption applies. Wearing a face mask is still legally required in Wales and Scotland. Face-covering is required during the funeral service, exempted for the individuals leading the ceremony and providing a eulogy.
You should consider washing your hand and using a hand sanitiser throughout the funeral service. Further, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and take a rapid lateral flow device (LFD) test to manage your risk if you suspect infection.
Even though there are no legal requirements, maintaining social distancing measures would reduce the risk of catching or passing on the virus.
You can refer to government safety guidance and advice during the pandemic on how to stay safe and help prevent the spreadfor further information.

Can I attend a funeral if I have Coronavirus symptoms?

Do not attend a funeral if you have primary symptoms of covid-19, tested positive in your test or have come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Self-isolate immediately, follow the stay at home guidance and request a test online or contact NHS 119 via telephone.You can still organize a funeral online or over the phone while quarantining or self-isolation. Follow the safety guidance and instructions on You can briefly leave self-quarantine following recent international travel to attend a funeral if you have a legal exemption.

How will I feel at a funeral arranged during the pandemic?

As some people with whom you might need to share your pain will not be able to attend the funeral, you might feel lonely, unsupported, annoyed, frustrated, guilty, anxious and worried. You should remember that it is natural to feel this way and, those who couldn’t attend the funeral during the pandemic are not at fault.
You must consider getting bereavement support to help cope with these feelings while grieving for the loss of your loved one.

Can I view a funeral service online if I cannot attend due to the pandemic restrictions?

You can attend a funeral service online via live streaming or webcasting so that you don’t regret not being able to pay respect to your loved one who has passed away. This service is enabled by many funeral directors in organizing a funeral during the pandemic to minimize the risk of Coronavirus spread. This online funeral service ensures that the loved ones do not miss the one last moment with the deceased.

How can I involve people who cannot travel to the funeral due to the pandemic?

You can get support from your funeral director or other family members and friends to arrange the funeral and make sure everyone close to the loved one who has passed away does not feel left out.
Funeral services and commemorative events are organized to both honour the one who passed away and comfort the loved ones who are grieving for the loss. Therefore, you might need to find ways to involve the loved ones of the deceased who might not be able to attend the funeral due to different circumstances.

You can:

  • Read the names of those who wanted to attend but couldn’t
  • Offer to organize a gathering at a later date to bring everyone together to remember the deceased
  • Play a recorded message or read some notes on their behalf at the funeral
  • Light a candle and lay flowers on their behalf

Even if you are attending a funeral during the pandemic, remember to follow all the social distancing measures and safety guidelines to protect yourself and others. Where possible, it is recommended to organize outdoor funerals and commemorating events as enclosed places have a high risk of spreading Covid-19.