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 4 January 2021 the number of people who may attend a funeral in Greater Sydney (which includes the Central Coast and Wollongong) is 100 or one person per 4 square metres of space. Children count towards capacity. The number of people who may attend a funeral outside Greater Sydney is restricted to one person per 2 square metres of space. 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 11 January 2021, funerals in Greater Brisbane (including Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Logan City and Redlands City) can have up to 100 attendees. Venues need to have at least 4 square metres per person. Those venues with less than 200 square metres’ floor space can have one person per 2 square metres, and up to 50 people at a time. Outside Greater Brisbane funerals can have up to 200 people. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the QLD Government website for more information.

VIC

At 6 January 2021 there is no cap on attendees at funerals for both indoors and outdoors subject to a density limit of 1 person per 2 square metres when using electronic record keeping. If held in a private residence attendees are limited to members of the household and up to 15 attendees excluding funeral staff. Travel restrictions apply. Visit the VIC Government website for more information.

SA

From 14 December 2020 the total number of persons permitted to attend a funeral is 200. The total number of people at a venue must not exceed 1 person per 2 square metres. Travel restrictions apply. 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

The number of attendees at a funeral is subject to the 1 person per 2 square metre rule. For example, only 100 people can gather in an area that's 200 square metres in size. Capacity limits don't include staff or officiants except at venues that old more than 500 patrons. 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:

  • NSW Northern Beaches Region
  • NSW Greater Sydney (which includes Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong) 
  • QLD Greater Brisbane (which includes Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Logan City and Redlands City)

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