Funerals: this is how many people can attend a funeral service in Scotland - and safety rules explained

If a person is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19 they must not attend a funeral service in person during their self-isolation period

Monday, 14th September 2020, 12:44 pm

The number of people who can attend funerals in Scotland was limited during lockdown to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

But are restrictions still in place for services, and how many people can now attend?

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Here’s what you need to know.

The number of people who can attend funerals in Scotland was limited during lockdown to reduce the spread of coronavirus (Photo: Shutterstock)
The number of people who can attend funerals in Scotland was limited during lockdown to reduce the spread of coronavirus (Photo: Shutterstock)

How many people can attend a funeral?

The new ‘rule of six’ means that social gatherings of more than six people in Scotland will not be allowed, bar some exceptions. Funerals are exempt from this new rule.

Scotland currently remains in phase 3 of its lockdown route map, with a limit of 20 people in place for funeral services.

This does not include the funeral director, venue staff or celebrant.

Gov.scot explains, “up to 20 people will still be able to attend funerals, weddings and civil partnerships ceremonies, with the limit permitted for wakes and receptions rising to 20 in line with this, as long as they take place in regulated venues like hotels with strict guidance in place.”

The current advice in regards to funerals also explains, “those who are organising a funeral are advised that in-person attendance at funeral services should continue to be kept to a small number of people and will be subject to physical distancing and wider public health measures.”

However, some crematoriums, burial grounds and places of worship may not have capacity to have 20 people in attendance with physical distancing in place, in which case a smaller group will be allowed.

Who can’t attend a funeral?

If a person is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19 they must not attend a funeral service in person during their self-isolation period.If a person is not symptomatic or a confirmed COVID-19 case, but is self-isolating due to another member of their household either showing symptoms of COVID-19 or having tested positive with COVID-19, “that person must seriously consider not attending a funeral service in person,” explains Gov.scot.This is also the case if a person is not symptomatic or a confirmed COVID-19 case, but is self-isolating as a result of other contact (identified through contact tracing).

If you are considered part of the higher risk or extremely high risk group and wish to attend a funeral service in person, then “you must seriously consider this in line with important public health advice applicable to you and available on NHS Inform.”

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Why are there restrictions in place?

The restrictions are in place to help prevent and mitigate any potential spread of Covid-19 among different households and the wider community.

“Wherever possible and if available, those wishing to attend or follow a funeral service should do so by electronic means, such as via an online streaming service or by viewing a recording of the service,” adds Gov.scot.

What safety measures are in place?

Gov.scot explains, “Funeral services throughout this pandemic have and will continue to look, and feel, very different to how services might have been conducted before public health measures came into force.”

All attendees must maintain at least a 2 metre distance from each other at all times, except where they are from the same household, or a carer and the person is assisted by the carer.Those in attendance should also maintain good hand and cough hygiene, both before and after attending a service, including regular hand washing.

Do I have to wear a face mask?

Everyone attending an indoor funeral service is required by law to wear a face covering, including funeral services in crematoriums, funeral directors’ premises and places of worship.

There are some exceptions to wearing a face covering at funeral services, with the person leading the funeral service, or providing the eulogy, being able to remove a face covering.

However, they must instead remain at least 2 metres away from others or have a protective screen between themselves and others.

If it is not possible for the person leading the funeral service or providing the eulogy to remain at least 2 metres away from others, or to use a protective screen, then they must wear a face covering.