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The outbreak of Covid-19 has affected the way funerals are arranged and attended.

It is advised that the number of attendees should be restricted to a maximum of 30 persons for public health reasons

  • if there is limited capacity priority should be given to mourners who are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • activities such as singing, chanting, requiring raised voices or playing of instruments that are blown into should be specifically avoided. This is because these activities pose a possible additional risk of infection even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used
  • face coverings must be worn in indoor places of worship, crematoria and burial ground chapels. There are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups to not wear a face covering in these settings or to remove it, for example if a mourner becomes distressed.

Who can attend?

It is advised only a modest number of family and friends of the deceased should travel to and attend the funeral. Overnight stays away from the home are also permitted, though it is advised this should only be with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household (in which case social distancing should be maintained).

Information for Mourners

Coming from outside England

Mourners coming into England who have travelled to England from countries that are not exempt from the requirement to self-isolate (within the last 14 days) are required to self-isolate for 14 days from the day they were last in a non-exempt country. However, such mourners can leave their place of self-isolation in limited circumstances including on compassionate grounds. This includes attending a funeral.

The mourner can only leave their place of self-isolation when attending the funeral and is otherwise expected to self-isolate for the remainder of the 14-day period unless another exemption applies.

If you are symptomatic

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend the funeral due to the risk that they pose to others.

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately self-isolate at home for at least 10 days and request a test online or by contacting NHS 119 via telephone if they do not have internet access.

If you are self-isolating due to a possible case of COVID-19 in your household

Mourners of the deceased person may include those who are self-isolating due to another member of the household or support bubble being unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 or as advised by NHS Test and Trace. Where the funeral is scheduled before the period of household or support bubble isolation has been completed (14 days from when the first person in that household or support bubble started showing symptoms) mourners who are self-isolating should be facilitated to attend.

A household or support bubble that is self-isolating should:

  • not attend if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, even if these are very mild
  • maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (3 steps) between themselves and others.
  • advise the other mourners that they are otherwise still within the 14-day isolation period, and ensure that they do not attend at the same time as another mourner who may be clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable
  • only break self-isolation when attending the funeral and otherwise continue to self-isolate
  • practice strict hand and respiratory hygiene:
    • wash their hands more often than usual with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitiser
    • avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth
    • cover their coughs or sneezes.

Mourners who are from a household or support bubble that is self-isolating must wear a face covering by law when attending indoor places of worship, crematoria and burial ground chapels unless exempt for health, disability or other reasons.

Clinically or extremely vulnerable

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable should have received a letter telling them they are in this group or been told by their GP. Mourners who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be facilitated to attend, should they wish to do so, but have been advised that they should minimise their contact with people outside their household or support bubble for their personal protection.

While shielding advice remains in place they are advised not to attend at the same time as mourners who are otherwise self-isolating due to being household or support bubble or non-household contacts of a case, as they could be incubating disease.

Mourners who are clinically extremely vulnerable should maintain strict social distancing and follow the latest guidance available.

Actions to reduce their risk of infection could include:

  • advising other attendees that there is a clinically extremely vulnerable person attending and reiterating the need to stay at home if they are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, and to be respectful of the vulnerable person’s need to avoid close contact at any point
  • advising the mourner to travel to the venue via the safest route possible, preferably in a car by themselves, or with someone from their household or support bubble
  • considering the additional risk involved if attending the funeral requires travelling by public transport

Mourners who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable should adhere to rigorous hand and respiratory hygiene measures at all times, but particularly while out of the home environment. Hand sanitiser or sanitising wipes should be used regularly while outside of the home. A face covering must be worn by law when in indoor places of worship, crematoria and burial ground chapels unless exempt for health, disability or other reasons.

© 2020 Stevenage Borough Council