Government releases funeral guidelines amid Covid-19 lockdown

The government has revealed guidance in regards to funerals after the prime minister announced that the UK would be entering a period of nationwide lockdown yesterday.

Boris Johnson announced that all social gatherings were banned, which included weddings and baptisms as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Although places of worship have also closed, funerals are still allowed to go ahead, with only immediate family attending.

The government said these measures will “reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.”

Jon Levett, chief executive of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), said in s statement it is “absolutely vital” that the sector abides by the objectives set out in the government’s guidance.

He said: “We have reached out to the Government to clarify a number of questions, including the maximum number of people that can attend a funeral – but our initial advice to funeral directors and the public is to arrange funerals over the phone wherever possible, restrict attendees to immediate close family only and respect social distancing guidelines.

“We understand that this advice may be very difficult for families, and funeral directors will do everything they can to help families say goodbye – using web streaming where possible to include other family members and perhaps planning a celebration of the person’s life in the months to come – but it is vitally important we respect Government guidance for social distancing, to help stop the spread of Covid-19.”

The government has also announced it will be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply. 

The guidelines will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the government will look at them again and “relax them” if the evidence shows this is possible.

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