Gatherings and occasions
When will funerals be allowed with increased attendance (taking into account physical distancing)?
Increased attendance at funerals can take place from 15 July, although numbers will be limited to 20 and physical distancing will be in place. This change to the restrictions only applies to funeral services. Other gatherings – such as wakes - must continue to follow the limits on household meetings and hospitality
Who can attend a funeral?
When considering who should attend a funeral, the requirement to keep funeral service attendees to the minimum number of people possible should be taken into account.
Under The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (‘the regulations’) you can attend a funeral if you are:
- a household member of the person who has died
- a close family member of the person who has died
- If no household or close family members are attending the funeral, then you can attend if you are a friend of the person who has died.
The regulations do not define who is considered ‘close family’. This is because the circumstances for each person who has died and their loved ones will be different.
For those organising a funeral, we are, however, requesting that in person attendance at a funeral service is kept to the minimum number of people possible.
How many people can attend a funeral?
There is no Scotland-wide maximum number of people allowed to attend a funeral service. Each crematorium, burial ground or place of worship will advise you on the maximum number of attendees that they can safely accommodate at the service.
You should speak to your funeral director, local crematorium, burial ground or place of worship directly, to establish what the arrangements or restrictions are and how they will be managed on the day of the service.
Who should NOT attend a funeral?
If you are symptomatic (showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection) or have tested positive for COVID-19 you must not attend a funeral service in person, during the period you are required to self-isolate.
If you do not have symptoms, have not tested positive for COVID-19 but are self-isolating due to another member of your household either showing symptoms of COVID-19 or having tested positive for COVID-19, you must seriously consider not attending a funeral service in person. You should instead continue to follow household self-isolation advice.
If you are not symptomatic or have a confirmed COVID-19 test result, but are self-isolating as a result of other contact (identified through contact tracing), you must seriously consider not attending a funeral service in person. You should instead follow all contact tracing and self-isolation advice provided to you.
If you are part of the higher-risk group or the extremely high-risk group you must seriously consider your attendance at a funeral in line with all important public health advice provided and applicable to you.
If you fall within any of these categories, you may wish to consider, where possible, attending the funeral service electronically e.g. via live-streaming or to view a recording of the service.
How far can I travel to attend a funeral in Scotland?
There is no distance restriction for funeral service attendance.
Can I delay a funeral until after the pandemic restrictions have ended?
You should not delay a funeral in the hope that the restrictions will end soon and more people will be able to attend the funeral. It is not known when the restrictions will end and it is possible it could be many weeks until that happens.
It is also highly likely that physical distancing requirements will remain in place for some time. This means that crematoriums, burial grounds and places of worship will still need to limit and manage the numbers of people who can attend funeral services.
Can I travel to another part of the UK to attend a funeral service?
If travelling to other parts of the UK, you should check the rules and guidance in place for that country. Different rules and guidance will likely apply.
Can I travel from abroad to attend a funeral in Scotland?
Consular assistance and foreign policy, including foreign travel, is reserved to the UK Government and managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
If you are considering travel from abroad to attend a funeral service in Scotland, you should review relevant FCO advice before doing so.
You should consider any travel very carefully, understanding that at a funeral service (as with any gathering at this time) there will continue to be a risk of transmission of COVID-19.
It is important that if you decide to travel to Scotland from abroad you strictly adhere to all public health requirements while in Scotland. This includes complying with restrictions on movement and self-isolation in place for travellers.
How do I get support for funeral costs?
How do I access bereavement support?
The mygov.scot website sets out a number of resources and organisations that are there to help and support you at times of grief and bereavement.
You find practical tips for your help with your wider wellbeing at Clear Your Head.
When will marriages and civil partnerships be allowed to begin again?
From 15 July, marriage ceremonies and civil partnership numbers will be limited to 20 and physical distancing will be in place. This change to the restrictions only applies to the ceremonies and registrations. Related gatherings – such as receptions - must continue to follow the limits on household meetings and hospitality.
When will places of worship reopen fully?
From 15 July, places of worship can reopen for communal services and prayer although numbers will be limited, up to a maximum of 50 people. Physical distancing will be in place and contact details, as well as the time people were in a place of worship, will need to be recorded. Specific advice is being finalised with faith communities, but it is likely that singing and chanting will be restricted in line with evolving scientific advice on this issue. Until 15 July individuals can continue to go to places of worship on their own or within their own household group for individual prayer or contemplation.
Will mass gatherings be permitted to take place outside?
We expect public mass gatherings will not be permitted for some time – they are included in Phase 4 and will be subject to public health advice at that time.