Public Health England (PHE) has issued further guidance for those managing or organising funerals during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance aims to ensure that bereaved people are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect, while protecting individuals, communities and those in the funeral industry from the risk of infection.
The guidance details where exceptions can be made to the stay at home advice currently in place to allow families and friends to attend funerals and say goodbye to loved ones, including those who are self-isolating or who have been defined as extremely clinically vulnerable, should they wish to.
The advice includes:
- those who have symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19 must not attend and must stay at home
- limiting the numbers in attendance to as low as possible to ensure safe social distancing. Numbers can be determined by the size and circumstance of the venue
- observing social distancing guidance across all aspects of attending a funeral
- people who are extremely clinically vulnerable (shielded) can attend with measures put in place to reduce their risk
- people self-isolating because someone in their household is ill may attend if they do not have symptoms themselves
Professor Paul Cosford, Public Health England’s Emeritus Medical Director, said:
Every death is a tragedy and it’s important that family and friends can mourn as they need to. This revised guidance strikes a careful balance between our need to mark the life of a loved one when we are bereaved and minimising the risk of spreading coronavirus infection.
Bereavement impacts people differently but a range of support is available, including:
- The NHS
- Cruse Bereavement Care (offers advice and support on dealing with bereavement and grief during the coronavirus outbreak)
- ataloss.org (provides signposting and services across the UK)
- If you are supporting a bereaved child or young person the Childhood Bereavement Network has information and links to national and local organisations
 only the following should attend: members of the person’s household; close family members or if these people above are unable to attend, close friends; a celebrant of choice, should the bereaved request this.