Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for funeral services

Published: 30 Oct 2020
Last updated: 21 Jan 2021 - see all updates

This guidance explains what restrictions are currently in place for funeral services and wider public health guidance relevant for funeral services.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for funeral services
Funeral wakes/post-funeral gatherings

Funeral wakes/post-funeral gatherings 

Mainland Scotland and some islands are now in lockdown with guidance to stay at home, except for essential purposes.

Some islands remain in level 3.

From the start of the day on Friday 8 January 2021, in areas placed into lockdown, post-funeral gatherings such as wakes and funeral teas are not permitted.

In areas which are not under lockdown, post-funeral gatherings, such as wakes, can continue to take place in regulated venues (e.g. hospitality venues) with up to a maximum of 20 people attending.  Outwith regulated venues, any gathering for a wake/ post-funeral gathering must adhere to the general rules on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Organised occasions such as meals or gatherings to mark a significant event like a funeral will understandably involve people who know one another well, and who may wish to greet or console one another. Consequently, the requirements for physical distancing, hygiene and other mitigation measures should be carefully followed both by the venues hosting such occasions and those attending the events. 

Physical distancing requirements in regulated venues may mean that less than the maximum of 20 people can attend the post-funeral gathering. It is recommended that you check with the venue in advance how many people can be accommodated while still observing physical distancing guidance.

Funeral-related commemorative events

In all areas of Scotland, funeral-related commemorative events (e.g. ashes scatterings, stone setting, visiting a grave) can take place but should be limited to a maximum of 20 people.  Physical distancing should be adhered to at all times.

In a private home/ garden, these events are limited by the general rules on indoor/ outdoor gatherings.  

It is recommended that family visitation to view a deceased person in a funeral director’s premises, is also limited by the general rules on indoor gatherings.

First published: 30 Oct 2020 Last updated: 21 Jan 2021 -