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

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. 

NSW

From 29 March 2021 there is no cap on the number of people that can attend weddings, funerals and private gatherings as long as they comply with the 1 person per 2 square metre rule (venues will be allowed at least 25 people before the 2sqm rule applies). Travel restrictions apply. Visit the NSW Government website for more information.

ACT

From 2 December 2020, funerals can have up to 500 attendees, excluding staff and anyone involved in the service. Venues must comply with the 1 person per 2 square metres of usable space in each indoor and outdoor space (excluding staff) provided they are using the Check In CBR app. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the ACT Government website for more information.

QLD

From 29 March 2021 funerals are restricted to 20 attendees, excluding officials in Greater Brisbane (including Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Logan City and Redlands City). Funerals outside Greater Brisbane can have up to 200 people with a limit of 1 person per 2 square metres. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the QLD Government website for more information.

VIC

From 26 March 2021 there are no attendee limits for funerals. The venue must apply the 2 square metre rule to ensure people have enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance between them. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age. The two square metre rule can be used only if electronic record keeping is used. Otherwise, the four square metre rule applies. If a funeral is held in a private residence the private gathering limit applies (100 visitors). Travel restrictions apply. Visit the VIC Government website for more information.

SA

From 31 March 2021 the following gathering provisions apply: Private function (including weddings and funerals) – 200 people, maximum 1 person per 2 square metres. The density requirement will move from 1 person per 2 sq metres to 3 people per 4 sq metres (equivalent to 75%). The capacity for cinemas, live theatres, performance venues and places of worship with fixed seating will increase from 75% to 100% provided attendees are wearing a mask. Visit the SA Government website for more information.

NT

There is no limit to the number of people that can attend a funeral in the NT, however people are asked to keep 1.5 metres from people they don't live with. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the NT Government website for more information.

WA

From 5 February 2021, in the Perth metropolitan area and the Peel region up to 150 people can attend a funeral with the capacity rule of 1 person per 4 square metres. For the rest of Western Australia the 60 per cent capacity rule applies to a place of formal worship. Formal worship includes funerals. No more than 1 person per 2 square metres can gather in all other areas within the place of worship. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the WA Government website for more information.

TAS

The number of attendees at a funeral is determined by the size of the venue and the 1 person per 2 square metre rule up to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 1,000 people outdoors. Where the number of attendees according to the 1 person per 2 square metre rule is less than the maximum gathering limit, the lower number applies. 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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travel restrictions

Most states have now opened their borders for travel from ‘low risk’ areas. Travel from current ‘hot spots’ is restricted. We suggest you speak with your funeral director if you would like interstate guests to attend a funeral from a current ‘hot spot’ as exemptions may be granted for compassionate reasons.

Current ‘hot spots’ include:

  • Greater Brisbane (City of Brisbane, City of Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region, Redlands City)
  • Gladstone Region, QLD
  • Byron Shire, NSW

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