Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector

Guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector, including procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector
Wedding receptions and funeral wakes

Wedding receptions and funeral wakes

Wedding receptions

See: guidance on weddings.

Funeral wakes

This guide sets out what those responsible for funeral wakes should do to comply with regulations and guidance. Venue managers and those responsible for compliance should familiarise themselves with their legal obligations in terms of the statutory guidance and the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (as amended).

This guidance is primarily aimed at venue managers and aims to assist them prepare activities in accordance with associated legislation. Additional general guidance for customers of retail and hospitality is available.

Risk assessment

All businesses must undertake a risk assessment to determine what adjustments are required to operate safely. The venue manager is responsible for ensuring these are completed. More detailed information, including a template can be found in the assessing risk chapter of this guide.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing and good hand hygiene remain the most effective measures in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. 

2 metre physical distancing, is the default in all settings, and should be maintained within funeral wake venue by all parties that are not in the same household.

However, the 1 metre physical distancing exemption applies to the contained hospitality areas of the premises i.e. the bar, restaurant, dining room or café. Clear signage must be provided to indicate that guests are entering the 1 metre zone.

Restrictions on capacity

Venues must follow all restrictions on capacity in regulations and comply with associated guidance.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 provide that for the purposes of minimising the risk of the incidence and spread of coronavirus on the premises, a person responsible for a place of worship, carrying on a business or providing a service must take a number of measures where reasonably practicable.

These include ensuring that physical distancing takes place and ensuring that people are admitted to its premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain the required distance.

The number of guests permitted to attend the funeral wake should follow any supporting guidance, in force at the time of the event.

It is important to reiterate that the numerical limits are contingent upon the venue having sufficient capacity, with physical distancing, to safely accommodate that number of people. We have produced draft guidance on how to calculate capacity limits.  Read more: Coronavirus (COVID-19): calculating physical distancing capacity in public settings

Numbers that can attend

The numbers set out below can attend only if the venue can hold that many people with strict physical distancing measures in place. In some venues fewer people will be able to attend. 

Level 0 - no more than 200 people should attend.

Level 1 - no more than 100 people should attend.

Level 2 - no more than 50 people should attend.

Level 3 -  no more than 50 people should attend.

Level 4 -  funeral wakes are not permitted in level 4. 

Closing time

Level 0 - consideration should be given to a closing time in line with licensing requirements.

Level 1 - the closing time required in all indoor hospitality settings is 23:00 hours. This applies to wedding receptions and funeral wakes.

Level 2 - the closing time required in all indoor hospitality settings is 22:30 hours. This applies to wedding receptions and funeral wakes.

Level 3 - the closing time is 22:00 hours. The event must close and guests must leave the venue no later than this time. This is covered by an exception in the Regulations to allow for a later closing time than that which is imposed on indoor hospitality more generally. As this is a concession, it is important that Venue Managers observe this strictly.

Level 4 - funeral wakes are not permitted in level 4.

Serving food and drink


Food must be via table service as table service is mandatory in hospitality settings. There should be no buffet service.

Salt/pepper, water jugs, food service equipment and condiments should not be shared between different tables.

Food service must adhere to the following guidance:


Alcohol can be provided at a funeral wake (in levels 0,1,2 and 3).

Alcohol must be provided in accordance with licensing requirements and care must be taken to ensure that physical distancing requirements are maintained.

Venues must put in place the same mitigating measures as they would in other indoor hospitality settings. For example, guests should not approach the bar and protective screens should be used. 

In protection level 3, alcohol is not permitted in other indoor hospitality settings. There is an exception in the regulations which permits the sale of alcohol at a funeral wake.

Test and Protect

This is mandatory for hospitality businesses. Customer detail collection guidance has been published and must be followed.


There should be no queuing inside premises, such as at bars, and systems should be in place to ensure this does not happen. 

This may include barriers to prevent access to and congregation of guests at bars. It is important that physical distancing is maintained wherever possible.

Improved ventilation

Adequate and good quality ventilation should be standard in indoor commercial spaces – businesses should consider current arrangements and whether additional measures are required to make improvements. HSE guidance on this issue may be helpful.

Face coverings

It is mandatory for staff to wear face coverings in accordance with hospitality statutory guidance

Guests must wear face coverings other than when eating and drinking. The use of face coverings is mandatory in indoor premises. This includes in those areas of a hotel/venue (such as the hotel reception, toilets or other corridor/circulation spaces) that are not used for eating and drinking.

Exemptions for vulnerable groups/individuals apply.

The wearing of face coverings must not be used as an alternative to other precautions including physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene. We have published guidance on the use of face coverings.


Numbers of people seated at tables should be planned in line with socialising rules for public places for the relevant level your area is in, as set out in the Strategic Framework’s protection levels.

There should be no mixing between tables. The distance between tables should be in accordance with hospitality guidance.

Guests should be seated as soon as possible

Guests should be seated at all times, other than when entering/existing premises or using toilet facilities.

Guests must wear face coverings indoors, other than when eating and drinking.

If possible, set waiting staff should serve the same tables to minimise increased contact with others.

Hand sanitation

Hand sanitiser should be provided at every table.

Hand sanitiser (preferably foot operated) should be provided where guests move from one area to another.


Toilet facilities present a significant risk as physical distancing is difficult and there are shared touch points.

Venues must include a risk mitigation plan within their risk assessment offering assurances as to how toilet facilities can be used safely.

Toilet facilities must be managed carefully and it is recognised that this may require at times the need for customers to queue in a physically distanced and orderly manner to allow facilities to be used safely. Space should be identified for this away from seated areas that can ensure physical distancing and that do not encroach on passage ways. Customers should be wearing face coverings when not seated.

Measures must be implemented to support safe use. You may find it helpful to read: safe use of toilet facilities 


The venue manager must ensure that the areas used by the event are thoroughly cleaned before the next event takes place.  

All cleaning should be carried out in accordance with Health Protection Scotland's gudiance for non healthcare settings.  

This may mean enhancement of the cleaning regime normally used at venues.

Venues should take steps to ensure that there is frequent cleaning of touch points that are frequently used. This is an effective measure in preventing infection.


Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

First published: 16 Apr 2021 Last updated: 28 Jul 2021 -