Coronavirus (COVID-19) – advice on limiting attendance at funerals

A group of seven organisations representing the funeral, burial and cremation sector has issued joint guidance on the number of mourners attending funerals following the Government’s announcement on limiting attendance to immediate family only.

The Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG), which is regularly liaising with government on the sector’s response to COVID-19, comprises the Association of Private Crematoria and Cemeteries (APCC), Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA); Funeral Furnishing Manufacturers’ Association (FFMA); Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM); National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), National Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF); and The Cremation Society.

The members of DMAG are aware of the important and central role of the funeral ritual to the grieving process for many families. However, during these extremely challenging times the transmission of the coronavirus at funeral gatherings to the elderly, frail, those in vulnerable groups along with funeral directors and crematorium staff cannot be overlooked.

DMAG now recommends that funeral services consider limiting attendees to members of the immediate family who are not in any of the high-risk categories and are not self-isolating. The immediate family being:

  • Spouse/Partner
  • Parents/carers
  • Brothers/Sisters
  • Children (and partners)

Limiting attendees must be done sensitively and taking into account individual circumstances. For example, if the deceased person had few, if any immediate, relatives but close a friend wished to attend the service, that would be reasonable – or in the case of the death of a grandparent, attendance by the grandchildren would be appropriate.

DMAG has urged the whole funeral and bereavement sector to work closely in support of each other to deliver, as far as is possible in these difficult times, a meaningful opportunity for the bereaved to say goodbye, whilst endeavouring to protect all those involved.

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