Covid 19 Funeral attendance update

18 Jun

Following on from this weeks announcements and the general delay to easing of restrictions a guidance document has been issued to give clarity on the dispensation afforded to funerals and other commemorative events:

COVID-19: guidance for arranging or attending a funeral or a commemorative event during the coronavirus pandemic

It updates the maximum number of people that may attend a commemorative event and also includes changes to clarification of definitions.

The Guidance seeks to ensure that even in these difficult times funerals and events of a similar nature people are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect when someone dies and that funerals and commemorative events can continue to take place while minimising the risk of infection.

The Guidance provides clarity on a number of situations and what these mean,this is extracted below:-

‘Commemorative event’

In this guidance, the phrase ‘commemorative event’ is used to refer to a religious, belief-based or commemorative event linked to a person’s death, other than a funeral. Stone setting ceremonies, the scattering of ashes and wakes are examples of such events. These may take place before or following the funeral.

‘Household’ and ‘support bubble’

A household is a person or a group of people who live together in the same accommodation. A support bubble is a close support network which links 2 households. For further information on support bubbles, please refer to the guidance on making a support bubble with another household.


Where the guidance states that an activity must take place this is because it is a requirement under law.


Where the guidance states that an activity should take place this is not a legal requirement under law. However it’s strongly advised that consideration is given to following the advice being provided to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

‘COVID-secure venue’

A COVID-secure venue is one which is operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body, for example a place of worship or a hospitality venue, where appropriate measures will have been taken to stop the spread of COVID-19. In a COVID-secure venue, a risk assessment has been carried out, the capacity is set in line with guidance to allow for social distancing, there is adequate ventilation to bring fresh air in, and surfaces which people touch often are cleaned frequently.

‘Other venue’

These include venues such as gardens of private homes, public outdoor places and private land. These are venues where the premises are not operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body. A marquee or other structure in a private garden of a private home must have at least 50% of its walled area open at any time for it not to be classed as indoors.

‘Venue managers’ or ‘organiser’

The person or persons responsible for the management of a venue or event, including an assessment of compliance with the following guidelines.

'Lead mourner’

The individual or individuals who are working with the event organiser and/or the venue manager to set the requirements for the funeral and in most cases will be issuing invitations to the event. This is likely to be a family member or close friend of the deceased.

‘Visitor’, ‘attendee’ or ‘guest’

Individuals entering a venue for the purpose of attending a funeral or commemorative event.

'Garden of a private home’

The garden or grounds attached to someone’s home which are there for the enjoyment of those who occupy the property.

‘Risk assessment’

A risk assessment is an exercise that you carry out to identify potential risks at the event and then work out how to minimise the risks.

It’s a legal requirement for a risk assessment to be completed for a COVID-secure venue. This will typically be completed by the venue manager.

If you’re organising an event in a venue other than a COVID-secure venue (such as the garden of a private home, in a public outdoor place, or on private land with more than 30 attendees), it’s a legal requirement for you to complete a risk assessment and follow the actions identified within it. The organiser of the event is required to complete the risk assessment: this might be, for example, the lead mourner, a family member or friend of the person who has died.

See the simple guidance for what you should include in a risk assessment. All parties should take all reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission of COVID-19 during the event. This will include completing all responsibilities under the risk assessment as well as the actions outlined in this guidance, to ensure the event takes place in a COVID-19 safe and secure way.

The issue of serving and consuming food and drink at a commemorative event is also set out in clear terms.

“Under Step 3, if the event is taking place at a COVID-secure venue where alcohol is served, all food and drink (including non-alcoholic drink) must be ordered, served and consumed whilst seated at a table.

If your event is not taking place in a COVID-secure venue, such as in a garden of a private home, the organiser must still take all reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission. Where food and drinks are consumed, the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services should be followed to reduce the risk of transmission.

At Step 3, there is no requirement for guests to be placed on socially distanced tables, or on tables of six, including in a COVID-secure venue. However, the organiser must still take reasonable measures to limit transmission. As part of doing so they should consider the risks of not maintaining social distancing, as set out in new guidance on meeting friends and family.”

Law correct at the date of publication.
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