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 21 July 2021.

NSW

From 11 July 2021 funerals in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour are limited to 10 people (indoors and outdoors) excluding those necessary to conduct the funeral. From Friday 23 July 2021 a maximum of 10 people, excluding those necessary to conduct the service can attend a funeral or memorial service or gathering afterwards in the Blayney, Cabonne and Orange local government areas. The 10-person maximum also applies to an outdoor funeral, memorial service or gathering afterwards. A funeral cannot occur at a place of residence. Masks must be worn indoors. Gathering restrictions no visitors in homes in lockdown areas, no funerals allowed in a private residence, 2 outdoors. For the rest of NSW funerals and memorial services are permitted with a maximum of 1 person per 4 square metres of space on the premises. People from Greater Sydney (or who are subject to the stay at home rules) can only leave their place of residence to attend a funeral, memorial service or a gathering afterwards outside of Greater Sydney if they are a spouse (including de facto), parent, child or sibling of the deceased. If anyone subject to the stay at home rules attends the funeral, there must not be more than 100 people present. If you are the organiser of a significant event you will need to have and comply with a relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan for a wedding, funeral or memorial service. Gathering restrictions 5 visitors in homes. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the NSW Government website for more information.

ACT

From 27 June 2021, there is no fixed limit for funerals. The limit to the number of guests is determined by the size of the venue where all events must continue to follow the requirements in the Public Health Direction, and where relevant, the COVID Safe Event Protocol. If there is no COVID Safety Plan, the maximum number of people allowed in the venue is 25. Masks must be worn indoors and outdoors. Gathering restrictions no limit on household visitors. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the ACT Government website for more information.

QLD

From 16 July 2021 funerals in South East Queensland are are limited to 100 people. Wakes at a private residence or public place are limited to a maximum of 30 people, if there is no COVID Safe Checklist or Event Checklist in place. Wakes at a venue that has a COVID Safe Checklist or Event Checklist in place are limited by the density restrictions outlined in this Direction. Masks must be worn indoors and outdoors in affected areas. Gathering restrictions 30 visitors in homes. For the rest of QLD indoor funerals will be capped at 200 attendees — or 1 person per 2 square metres, or 100 per cent seated capacity. Funerals held outdoors have no limit on the number of people who can attend. Funerals, wakes and post-funeral events held at a private residence are limited to 100 people if there is no COVID Safe Plan, Checklist or Event Checklist in place. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the QLD Government website for more information.

VIC

From 11.59pm 27 July 2021 funerals (indoor and outdoor) in all of Victoria are allowed 50 attendees plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. COVID Check-in Marshals must ensure attendees check in. Masks indoors and outdoors except if at home. Gathering restrictions no visitors in homes, 10 for outdoor gatherings. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the VIC Government website for more information.

SA

From 11.59pm 27 July 2021 funerals will be permitted up to 50 people (may be less based on capacity of venue regarding the 1 person per 4 square metres density requirements). Masks required indoors in high risk settings. Gathering restrictions limited to 10 visitors in homes including members of house. Visit the SA Government website for more information.

NT

From 1.00pm Friday 2 July 2021 there will be no restrictions on the reasons to leave home if you live in Greater Darwin or Alice Springs but staying COVIDSafe remains important. Until 9 July 2021 Masks must be worn indoors and outdoors. Gathering restrictions 10 visitors in homes. There is no limit to the number of people that can attend a funeral, 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 6 July 2021 funerals will be limited to 150 attendees in the Perth and Peel regions with the two square metre capacity rule. Masks mandatory outside of home unless exempt. Gathering restrictions 30 visitors in homes, 150 for private gatherings outdoors. Two square metre capacity rule and 150 patron limit for restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars, casinos, nightclubs, entertainment venues and public venues. For the rest of WA there are no capacity limits to weddings or funerals. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the WA Government website for more information.

TAS

From 1 May 2021, Tasmania moved to allow 100 per cent of seated indoor and outdoor capacity for gatherings at cinemas, concert venues, theatres, places of worship, funeral homes, stadiums, and arenas. Those required to conduct the funeral do not count towards these numbers. 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
  • Victoria
  • South Australia
  • South East Queensland

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 tracing

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