Covid 19

Covid 19

Covid 19

Funerals and COVID-19

Planning a funeral can be overwhelming, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are planning a funeral we hope this information can assist you to understand the current restrictions in place for funerals.

vero-photoart-9OflqNWhcrE-unsplash

Restrictions on attendance

Australia’s federal, state and territory governments have put restrictions in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 which includes the number of people who can attend a funeral. Find out more about current restrictions on funeral attendee numbers for each state and territory below. Updated 5 May 2022.

NSW

As at 29 April 2022 anyone can attend a funeral or place of worship. You don't need to be fully vaccinated or show proof of your vaccination status. Density limits no longer apply to funerals and memorials. Singing and dancing will be permitted at all venues. Masks only be mandated for public transport and planes, indoors at airports, hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, correction facilities and indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people. Gathering restrictions density limits no longer apply. Close contacts household and close contacts do not need to self-isolate if you do not have any symptoms, but must follow NSW Health household and close contact guidelines for 7 days from the last time someone in your household tested positive to COVID-19. See NSW Government website for more information and latest travel advice.

ACT

As at 26 April 2022 density limits for places of worship and funerals have been removed, however a COVID Safety Plan must be maintained. The Plan must be produced if requested by an authorised officer. Masks mandatory in high impact settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities. Gathering restrictions no limit on number of visitors to a home or informal outdoor gatherings. Organised events of greater than 5,000 people must submit their COVID Safety Plan to ACT Health for review. Close contacts household contacts will not have to quarantine if they have no COVID-19 symptoms but will be required to minimise their movement in the community and comply with risk mitigation requirements including mask wearing indoors, COVID testing requirements and not entering high-risk settings. See the ACT Government website for more information and latest travel advice.

QLD

As at 29 April 2022 density limits will no longer apply for funerals. Masks no longer required but recommended whenever you can’t socially distance and continue to be required in public transport, airports, planes, hospitals, disability care, aged care and prison settings. Gathering restrictions no limits on visitors in homes. No limit on gatherings in public outdoor spaces. Close contacts no quarantine requirements if asymptomatic, however need to follow strict guidelines. See QLD Government website for more information and latest travel advice.

VIC

As at 23 April 2022 there are no vaccination requirements or capacity limits in place for funerals or religious ceremonies. Masks required for everyone aged 8 and above in high risk settings or when you can't physically distance. Gathering restrictions there are no limits to the number of people you can gather with in your home or in public places. Close contacts no longer required to quarantine – provided they wear a face mask indoors and avoid sensitive settings. See the VIC Government website for more information and latest travel advice.

SA

As at 29 April 2022 there are no longer any density limits for weddings and funerals. Singing and dancing is allowed. A COVID Marshal is still required and COVID Management Plans are required for events of more than 1000 people. Masks you must wear a mask when indoors except when eating and drinking. Gathering restrictions there are no limits on how many people can gather in a home or outdoors. Close contacts no longer required to quarantine for 7 days, however to protect the community it is important you follow the close contact guidelines and wear a mask when you leave the house for 7 days after your exposure date (12 years and older). See SA Government website for more information and latest travel advice.

NT

As at 9 April 2022 there is no limit on the number of people who can attend a funeral in the Northern Territory. Participants at funerals and religious ceremonies must practise physical distancing and proper hygiene measures. Masks indoors and it is recommended that all people aged 12 and over wear a mask outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. Gathering restrictions no limit to how many people can gather indoors or outdoors — but you should keep 1.5 metres from people you don’t live with. If you need to be closer than 1.5 metres, keep contact to less than 15 minutes at a time. Try to avoid participating in social gatherings for more than 2 hours at a time. For the latest travel advice visit the NT Government Government website for more information.

WA

From 29 April 2022 all capacity and gathering limits in WA will be lifted — this includes for weddings and funerals, venues and major events. Proof of vaccination will only be required for entry to hospitals and residential aged care facilities. Masks no longer mandatory (but are encouraged), except in specific settings (including hospitals and residential aged care facilities) Gathering restrictions all capacity and gathering limits have been lifted. Close contacts asymptomatic close contacts will no longer need to isolate, subject to strict protocols see WA Government website for more information and latest travel advice.

TAS

As at 9 March 2022 a funeral held in an indoor space can have no more than 250 people. The total number of people at each premises can’t exceed 1 person per 2 square metres. For example, an indoor premises can’t hold more than 100 people if the floor space measures 200 square metres. Larger gatherings may be allowed if organisers register with Business Tasmania. If guests are seated most of the time, the maximum number of attendees can’t exceed 100% of seated capacity. In unseated areas, no more than 1 person per 2 square metres can enter. In all cases, it’s important that physical distancing and hygiene requirements are followed. Masks Required in certain settings Gathering restrictions 100 visitors in homes, for events indoors and outdoors the maximum number of people permitted is 1 person per 2 square metres, up to a limit of 250 people at an indoor venue and 1,000 people at an outdoor venue. For the latest travel advice visit the TAS Government website for more information.

While we understand that it is difficult to limit the number of people who can attend the funeral of your loved one these measures have been introduced to protect your health and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. AFDA members are absolutely committed to providing a respectful and inclusive farewell despite the strict limitations on physical attendance.

For more information on these restrictions visit the Australian Government Department of Health website www.health.gov.au

caring-hands-NVA7DMH 2

travel restrictions

Most states have now opened their borders for travel, however for the lastest travel advice please refer to the relevant state government websites. We also suggest you check with your funeral director if you would like interstate guests to attend a funeral to confirm they have not been in any identified ‘hot spots’.

Involving everyone
in the funeral

A funeral plays an important part in the mourning process. People need time to mourn the loss of family and friends. A funeral ceremony fills this need and provides people with an important place to share in their grief and help the living say goodbye. There are ways to still include everyone in a funeral, even if they cannot attend in person:

Live streaming the service

Organise video messages from loved ones to be screened at the funeral

Have written messages to share at the funeral

Create a video of the funeral to share with others

Consider asking family and friends to pause for a moment of remembrance at the same time as those attending the funeral

Plan a memorial for a later date

Another option is to plan a memorial at a later date for your loved one when the restrictions on gatherings have been lifted. A memorial can be held in the funeral home or at another location that has significant meaning for your loved one. This will allow you to celebrate and reflect on the life of your loved one with all of your family and friends.

frequently asked questions

Yes, there has been no change as to your choice of a burial or a cremation.

A funeral can be arranged over the phone or via electronic options such as FaceTime with your funeral director.

There is no difference however there may a time delay due to those attending self-isolating for a period of 14 days.

Family viewing of the deceased may be possible however family members should avoid any contact with the body.  

This will be reviewed by your funeral director and discussed with you to explain the various options available.

Further resources

Australian Government Department of Health

Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

Grief and Bereavement and COVID-19

Center for Loss and Life Transition

Funerals in the time of Coronavirus: Thoughts for families by Dr Alan Wolfelt

Center for Loss and Life Transition

Condolences in the time of COVID-19: Guidance for conveying your love and support by Dr Alan Wolfelt