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. Updated 22 November 2021.

NSW

From 8 November 2021 funerals and memorial services in NSW may have up to 1 person per 2 square metres of space for indoor and outdoor funerals. All people attending the funeral service must be fully vaccinated and within capacity limits. Those persons necessary to conduct the funeral are not included in the calculation for capacity limits. People who are fully vaccinated do not have to be seated while consuming food and drink. You can attend a funeral or memorial service anywhere in NSW. You must carry vaccination evidence with you and produce it for inspection to a police officer or authorised officer if requested; check in with the Service NSW app or provide your contact details to the occupier. Masks required indoors. Gathering restrictions no limit on visitors in homes or outdoor gatherings if all persons fully vaccinated. People under 12 are not counted. Funerals and memorial services in NSW have restrictions for people who are not fully vaccinated. All people at a small funeral or memorial service must be seated while consuming food and drink. You can attend a small funeral or memorial service anywhere in NSW. A small funeral or memorial service is a funeral or memorial with up to 10 people attending, not including the person conducting the service and anyone necessary for the conduct of the service. Masks must be worn indoors Gathering restrictions if you are over the age of 16 years and are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit another person’s place of residence, except in limited circumstances. Visit the NSW Government website for more information.

ACT

From 12 November 2021 funerals can have 25 people across the venue before density limits apply (excluding staff). If more than 25 people, venues can apply: one person per four square metres within each indoor space (excluding staff), and one person per two square metres within each outdoor space up to 300 people (excluding staff). Masks must be worn in high risk settings. Gathering restrictions no limit on number of visitors to a home. No limit for informal outdoor gatherings. Visit the ACT Government website for more information.

QLD

From 8 October 2021 in the LGAs of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Moreton Bay, Logan, Townsville and Palm Island restrictions will ease. Funerals can have the greatest of one person per 2m2, 200 people or 100 per cent ticketed and allocated seating along with the rest of Queensland. Eating and drinking while standing is allowed. Masks indoors and outdoors if you cannot physically distance from people. Gathering restrictions 100 visitors in homes. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the QLD Government website for more information.

VIC

From 19 November 2021 indoor and outdoor funerals where everyone is fully vaccinated will no longer have any capacity or density limits in Victoria. Fully vaccinated requirements will now apply to those aged from 12 and 2 months. Indoor and outdoor funerals where vaccination status isn’t being checked will have a capacity limit of 50 people per facility and density quotient of one person per 4 sqm (plus those necessary to conduct the funeral). Masks will no longer be required indoors at funerals, however are recommended if physical distancing isn’t possible, if anyone has symptoms or if there are people who are vulnerable to COVID-19. Gathering restrictions there are no limits to the number of people you can gather with in your home or in public places. It's strongly recommended that everyone who you're gathering with at your home or in a public place is fully vaccinated. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the VIC Government website for more information.​

SA

From 9 September 2021 funerals can have up to 150 people if it's categorised as a private function. A private function is an invitation-only event that's held at a licensed premises and where there’s no access for people who aren’t invited. Up to 50 people can attend a wedding or a funeral that's categorised as a private activity. A private activity is held at a place other than one where a defined activity occurs — for example, a privately hired hall or a farm used for commercial purposes, but not a licensed premises or residential premises. The following restrictions apply for private-function and private -activity funerals - a density limit of 3 people per 4 square metres when seated (excluding staff) or a density limit of 1 person per 2 square metres when seated and standing (excluding staff). Masks required indoors and outdoors Gathering restrictions 20 visitors in homes including householders. Visit the SA Government website for more information.

NT

From 20 August 2021 lockdown has been lifted, however some restrictions remain in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These restrictions apply to Katherine as well as the Greater Darwin area. Masks must be worn when physical distancing is not possible Gathering restrictions 10 visitors in homes. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the NT Government website for more information.

WA

From 16 August 2021 there are no capacity limits to funerals. You should stay 1.5 metres from people you don’t live with, where possible. Masks not required. Gathering restrictions no capacity limits to gatherings or events. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the WA Government website for more information.

TAS

From 18 October 2021, restrictions have eased in Southern Tasmania. Funerals can have 100 per capacity seated indoor and outdoors. Those required to conduct the funeral do not count towards these numbers. Masks must be worn outside the home by everyone aged 12 years and older in Southern Tasmania. Gathering restrictions 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. 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:

  • NSW
  • ACT
  • Victoria

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

covid check-in and funerals

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Australian governments have issued enforceable government directions which include keeping records of contact details of funeral attendees for the purposes of contact tracing if exposed to a case of COVID-19  in the community.

Businesses and organisations that provide funeral services and wakes are required to collect patron details and must address this requirement in their COVID-19 Safety Plan. The Service NSW Covid Safe Check-in app is recommended. When you check in to a business using the Service NSW app, only the location of the business and time of visit is recorded. This information is stored for 28 days and only for the purpose of contact tracing, if necessary. It’s a secure way for your information to be stored so you can be contacted easily if required. Visit NSW Government website for further information.

Places of worship and wedding and funeral organisers must be registered for and using the Check In CBR app. Everyone 16 years and older must check in. This will store their information directly with ACT Health and be used for contact tracing (if required). Their personal information is stored by ACT Health for 28 days and then deleted. Visit ACT Government website for further information.

Businesses are required to collect contact information from staff and patrons using the Check In Qld app for the purpose of contact tracing. Information collected will assist the local public health unit to contact trace in the event a person attended one of these businesses while they were infectious with COVID-19. Information collected will be kept by the Queensland Government for 56 days to assist with contact tracing, if required. Visit QLD Government website for further information.

The Victorian Government QR Code Service or an API compatible digital record keeping service is mandatory in most customer facing industries, to help with COVID-19 contact tracing. The Victoria QR code app integrates with the Victorian Department of Health’s contact tracing system. Check-in at venues supports contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 incident. Visit VIC Government website for further information.

The South Australian Government has introduced the COVID SAfe Check-In for contact tracing. The COVID-SAfe Check in is a feature that has been added to the mySA GOV app. A person who participates in a defined public activity or who enters a venue must upload their relevant contact details. If someone in South Australia tests positive to COVID-19, the COVID SAfe Check-In enables SA Health to quickly contact others who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Visit SA Government website for further information.

Businesses and organisations must review their COVID-19 Safety Plan every six months, appoint a COVID Safety Supervisor to implement their plan and collect customer contact details. The Northern Territory Government has introduced The Territory Check In app to make it easy for customers to self-check-in. Customers details will be sent automatically to NT Health, where they will be safely and securely stored. Customer information will only be accessed if required for contact tracing and destroyed after 28 days. Visit NT Government website for further information.

Places of worship, funeral parlours and venues where events are held and certain outdoor functions and gatherings under 500 people including funerals/memorial services will be required to maintain contact registers for WA Health Department COVID-19 contact tracing. The WA Government has developed a free app, SafeWA, which assists businesses to maintain their contact register. Contact register information collected through SafeWA is stored securely for at least 28 days, unless required for contact tracing by WA Health. Visit WA Government website for further information.

Tasmanians and visitors are required to use the Check In TAS app when they visit places of worship, religious gatherings, religious premises, and other similar premises, including those used to conduct a funeral. The app enables you to check-in to businesses, venues and events and have your data stored securely with the Tasmanian Department of Health. Details will be stored securely with the Tasmanian Department of Health for 28 days before being deleted and can only be accessed by Public Health if contact tracing is needed due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community. Visit the TAS Government website for further information.

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