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.

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Restrictions on attendance

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 each state and territory has prepared their own roadmap to recovery which includes the following changes to the number of people who can attend a funeral. As most states and territories are following a three stage easing of restrictions please check this website regularly in the coming weeks for updates.

NSW

From 24 July 2020 funerals will be limited to 100 people, subject to the 1 person per 4 square metre rule and a COVID-Safe business registration. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the NSW Government website for more information.

ACT

From 19 June 2020, funerals can have up to 100 mourners or 1 person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser.

QLD

From 16 June 2020, 100 mourners will be allowed at a funeral or wake provided social distancing is observed and following the rule of 1 person per 4 square metres. From 3 July 2020 smaller venues below 200 square metres can have 1 person per 2 square metres up to 50 persons at a time. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the QLD Government website for more information.

VIC

From 17 September 2020 funerals held in Melbourne Metropolitan, Mitchell Shire, Geelong and surrounds will be limited to 10 people, not including those required to conduct the funeral or children under 1 year of age. You can travel to a funeral outside these areas. Regionally, funerals can have up to 20 people in addition to funeral staff and children under 1 year of age. If a funeral is held in your home, the restrictions on private gatherings will apply. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the VIC Government website for more information.

SA

From 28 July 2020 the maximum number attendees for a funeral service (including a wake) is 100 people. The cap of 100 persons applies regardless of the venue (such as a hotel or other entertainment premises) at which a wake is held, or is 50 people if held at a private residence. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the SA Government website for more information.

NT

There are no gathering limits in the NT, however there must be at least 4 square metres of space for each person at the funeral. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the NT Government website for more information.

WA

From 26 June 2020 attendees at funerals are now dictated by the 1 person per 2 square metre rule and physical distancing of 1.5 metres. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the WA Government website for more information.

TAS

From 26 June 2020 gathering sizes will increase to 250 people indoors and 500 people outdoors. The number of attendees at a funeral will be limited by the density limit of 1 person per 2 square metres at the venue. Travel restrictions apply. 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

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Exemptions

In WA, NSW and QLD a person can apply for an exemption for more people to attend a funeral. We suggest you speak to your funeral director to discuss the implications around having more people attend the funeral as guidelines around social distancing may make it difficult to accommodate you request. There must be at least 4 square metres of space for each person present.

To apply for an exemption an applicant is required to:

  • Make an application as early as possible
  • Complete the application form available on the government website

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