Funeral services and places of worship have been announced as exempt from the UK Government’s new ‘rule of six’ to help stop the recent spike in coronavirus cases.
From Monday 14 September, the Government has announced the public must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes.
It said this change will “simplify and clarify” the rules on social gatherings, so they are easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce.
However, the prime minister revealed there are a limited number of exemptions including funerals and places of worship. These can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to six must not mix or form larger groups. The rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than six who will still be able to gather together at the services.
As such funeral services can continue allowing up to 30 mourners to pay their respects.
It comes months after Matt Hancock admitted banning people from attending funerals at the start of the pandemic “was a mistake”.
At the start of the pandemic, the government set out guidelines that while funerals were still allowed to go ahead, only immediate family attending with an initial limit of between 5-10 mourners..
In a webchat, Hancock branded the guidance issued as a “mistake” and regretted that it had been “really strongly interpreted”, according to The Telegraph.
Hancock said: “We put out social distancing guidance, which was really strongly interpreted, and it meant that in the peak of the pandemic, lots of people didn’t go to the funeral even of someone they’ve been married to for 50 years.
“And there was a little boy from south London who was buried without his parents there, and that really affected me. So we realised we’d made a mistake and we changed the guidance.”