Funerals during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: 5 January 2021

There are rules around funerals during coronavirus.

Number of people who can go to a funeral service

The number of people who can go depends on the protection level for that area.

Protection levels 1 to 4 (and areas under lockdown)

Up to 20 people.

Protection level 0

Up to 50 people.

These numbers are for both outdoor and indoor funeral services. The numbers could be fewer in some places. For example, in small spaces where people cannot keep to the 2 metre physical distancing rule.

You do not need to keep to the physical distancing rule if you're from the same household or a carer and the person being cared for.

If you're unsure how many people can go you should check with the funeral director, crematorium, burial ground or place of worship.

Check protection level by local council.

Check protection level by postcode.

Face coverings

You must wear a face covering at indoor funeral services.

Who cannot go to a funeral

You should not go to a funeral if you:

  • have coronavirus symptoms
  • tested positive for coronavirus and need to stay home to self-isolate

You should seriously consider not going to a funeral if you're self-isolating because:

  • someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • you've been contacted by the Test and Protect service

High risk groups

If you're in a high risk group, you can still go to a funeral. However, before going, you should consider the risk from coronavirus and its possible impact on your health.

If you do go to a funeral you should:

You can find out who is in a high risk group on NHS Inform.

Singing and chanting

You should not sing or chant during a funeral. We cannot be sure this would not create a risk of passing on coronavirus.

You can still play recorded music.

If you want a bagpiper you should check with the funeral director or the venue where the funeral is taking place. They'll confirm if you can have a bagpiper in the venue.

Travelling to a funeral

Scotland

You can travel within Scotland to go to a funeral.

You can travel between council areas and protection levels to go to a funeral. This includes commemorative events such as scattering ashes or stone setting.

You can also travel from other parts of the UK to go to a funeral service in Scotland.

You do not need to self-isolate when you return. This is unless you or a member of your household start to show coronavirus symptoms.

If you're travelling from abroad to go a funeral in Scotland you must follow the rules on movement and self-isolation for travellers entering the UK.

Rest of UK

You can travel from Scotland to a funeral in other parts of the UK.

Each country may have different rules for funerals. You need to check the rules for the country you're travelling to.

You can find further funeral guidance from GOV.UK

Abroad

If you're travelling abroad for a funeral check the foreign travel advice by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Gatherings after a funeral

There are different rules for gatherings after a funeral. The number of people who can go depends on the protection level for that area.

Protection level 4 and areas under lockdown

You cannot have a gathering after a funeral. This includes wakes.

Protection levels 1 to 3

Up to 20 people.

Protection level 0

Up to 50 people.

Rules for gatherings after a funeral

These numbers are for gatherings after a funeral in a regulated venue. For example, a hotel, pub or restaurant.

You can only have a gathering after a funeral in protection levels 0 to 3 right now.

The rules may be different from hospitality for:

  • opening hours
  • serving alcohol

You should check with the venue where the gathering is taking place.

You must still follow the rules for hospitality. For example, physical distancing and using a face covering.

For gatherings outwith a regulated venue you must follow the rules for indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Check protection level by local council.

Check protection level by postcode.