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

Indoor funerals can now have up to 20 people attend and outdoor funerals can have up to 30 people attend, excluding those conducting the service.

ACT

Indoor funerals can now have up to 20 people attend and outdoor funerals can have up to 30 people attend, excluding those persons conducting the service.

QLD

Funerals may be attended by 20 mourners and up to three funeral officials for funerals held indoors or 30 mourners plus up to three funeral officials if the funeral is held outdoors. Visit the QLD Government website for more information.

VIC

Funerals are allowed up to 20 mourners indoors and up to 30 outdoors, plus those required to conduct the service. If a funeral is held at a private house then only 5 people, in addition to people who live at the household, can attend. This includes those conducting the service.

SA

The maximum number of mourners is 20 if a funeral is held indoors, and 30 if it is held outdoors. This excludes those officiating at the funeral and other staff necessary to undertake the funeral. Visit the SA Government website for more information.

NT

Indoor funerals are limited to 10 people, excluding persons necessary for the conduct of the funeral. Restrictions for outdoor activities have been eased from 1 May 2020, however there must be at least 4 square metres of space for each person at the funeral.

WA

Up to 20 attendees can attend a funeral indoors or up to 30 attendees outdoors, not including the person/s necessary to conduct the service. Visit the WA Government website for more information.

TAS

20 people can attend a funeral indoors and 30 outdoors excluding the staff conducting the funeral. No exemptions will be granted. 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, NT 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