Funeral limits to be lifted and set by venues

The limit on the number of mourners who can attend funerals is to be lifted in England, the government has said.

Restrictions limiting the number of mourners to 30 will be removed as part of the next stage of lockdown easing, expected on May 17, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said.

Instead, the capacity will be determined by how many people venues, such as places of worship or funeral homes, can safely accommodate while maintaining social distancing. This includes indoor and outdoor venues and all organisers must continue to be Covid-secure and follow social-distancing rules.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday warned some restrictions will need to remain in place after June.

Speaking as the government trials replacing the 10-day isolation period for Covid contacts with daily rapid tests, he told the BBC: “We want to get to a position at the end of June where we can get life back as close to normal as possible.

“But there will still need to be some safeguards in place. That [replacing 10-day isolation with daily lateral flow tests] is one of the tools, one of the options we’ll look at, but no decisions have been made.

“I don’t want to prejudge it. It will look at things in the round. It will be particularly I think around distancing, maybe there’ll be something around masks.

Like so many others, the Queen had to sit alone as she bid farewell to her husband, PA Image


“But I don’t really want to pre-judge – those are just some of the options.”

Weddings and wedding receptions will still be limited to 30 people in Step Three of the roadmap, though bar mitzvahs and christenings will be allowed again for the first time since the new year.

The government is hoping to remove limits on weddings and other “life events” in Step Four from June 21 at the earliest.

During the pandemic, many have been forced to watch funerals from home over live-streams, making grieving harder. And those able to attend have had to do without handshakes and hugs.

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