Funerals: Coronavirus

Home Office written question – answered on 9th March 2021.

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Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has plans to review the covid-19 regulations in respect of funerals to protect funeral directors and staff cemeteries and crematoriums in the event of breaches of those regulations at funerals.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department

The ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ provides a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. The design of the roadmap has been informed by the latest scientific evidence and seeks a balance between our key social and economic priorities, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country. The scientific evidence shows that opening too early or too quickly risks a further lockdown. The approach focuses on data, not dates. Each step has a “no earlier than” date, five weeks later than the previous step, to allow time to assess the impact of the previous step and provide a week’s notice before changes occur.

Ahead of Step 4 (no earlier than 21 June), Government will launch the Events Research Programme, to consider how and when restrictions can be lifted from large events including funerals and wakes. Subject to the outcomes of the review, we hope to be able to lift restrictions.

It is the responsibility of the funeral director or venue owner to take all reasonable steps to ensure a funeral is Covid secure, and takes place in a way that complies with all relevant legislation, including around attendance.

A funeral director or venue owner can seek support from the police if they reasonably believe that the numbers attending are likely to breach the legal limits despite their best efforts to prevent this, or the numbers in attendance have unexpectedly exceeded the legal limits. The police can then decide the most appropriate action to take, which may include issuing a fixed penalty notice.

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