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Coronavirus and funerals

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The government has set out a roadmap out of lockdown in England. At all steps in the roadmap, people are permitted to leave their homes to attend a funeral as well as other religious, belief-based, or commemorative events following a person's death, as long as they follow the relevant restrictions and guidance.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. At Step 2 from 12 April 2021, the number permitted to attend religious, belief-based or commemorative events following a person's death, such as stone setting ceremonies, the scattering of ashes or a wake, has increased to up to 15 people.

Please also note that our chapels and gardens of remembrance are open to visitors as usual.

Attendance at funerals

We kindly ask that you do not have more than 30 mourners in attendance at our crematoria so that we can comply with government requirements on maintaining social distancing and NHS test and trace.

All those attending must follow the government guidance on staying alert and safe. If you are clinically vulnerable and wish to attend a funeral service, please make your funeral director aware of this so that we can assist with your requirements.

Face covering

Crematoria chapels are now a place in which you need to wear a face covering by law. Exemptions include children under the age of 11, a relevant official acting in the course of their employment or their duties (Celebrants / Funeral Directors / Crematoria staff) or whilst a person is carrying out a reading at a service. Members of the public attending a service in one of our chapels should ensure they bring an appropriate face covering with them.

More information Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own.


Please note that singing, chanting requiring raised voices or the playing of instruments that are blown into, activities which pose an additional risk of infection especially in enclosed spaces, are unfortunately not allowed in our crematoria chapels.  However, some professional, socially-distanced vocal or instrumental contributions can be included outdoors either as the coffin is carried into the chapel, or afterwards in the floral tribute court providing this is timed not to disturb a following service. Singing should be limited to a small, set group of no more than 6 people and must not include audience participation. 

Test and Trace

We keep records of those who arrange a funeral service and will provide this information to the NHS test and trace service if requested to do so. If your information is passed to the test and trace service, then you will probably be asked to provide details of attendees at the funeral in order to assist with contact tracing. You should keep a list of the people who attend to help with this process.

People who are symptomatic should not attend

Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell), should not attend a funeral. You should immediately self-isolate, follow the stay at home guidance, and request a test online, or by contacting NHS 119 via telephone if you do not have internet access.

People who are required to self-isolate should not attend

If you have been instructed by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because you have tested positive for COVID-19, or you are the close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should not attend a funeral.

It is a legal offence for a person who is required to self-isolate to attend a funeral under any circumstances other than the funeral of a close family member. Even if you are a close family member of the deceased, we strongly recommend that you attend remotely to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread to other mourners. We are currently offering free of charge live streaming of services at both the Bierton and Chilterns Crematoria for those who are unable to attend, by arrangement with your funeral director. You could also consider postponing the service until you are well enough to attend safely.

If after careful consideration of the risk you choose to attend a funeral in person then you must follow the government guidance and:

  • advise your funeral director/organiser and other mourners that you are in self-isolation, and do not attend at the same time as another mourner who may be clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable.
  • maintain a distance of at least 2 metres between yourself and others at all times.
  • practise strict hand and respiratory hygiene by:
  1.  wearing a surgical-grade Type IIR face mask or higher grade, properly fitting, to minimise any risk of viral transmission from yourself to others. If a respirator mask is used (for example N95), this should be non-valved.
  2. washing your hands more often than usual with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitiser.
  3. avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  4. covering your coughs or sneezes.

Any mourner who comes into close contact with you during the ceremony (for example, to console or support you) may then be required to self-isolate. Other mourners need to be aware of this prior to attending.

Hand sanitization and extra cleaning

The following measures are being taken to help reduce the risk to our staff and those attending funerals: -

  • Sanitisation bottles are situated in reception, meeting rooms and staff areas.
  • Wall mounted sanitisation dispensers are situated in our public areas and near the entrance to the chapels.
  • Regular additional cleaning is being carried out of the chapels between services and high contact areas including doors, face plates, door handles, taps, loo flush handles, reception counters, desk and table tops.

Crematorium office

Our office is open and we are making appointments for witness scattering of ashes ceremonies for which a maximum of 15 people can attend. Appointments for memorial enquiries can also be made although we are limiting the number of people able to be in our office at any one time to 1 person to adhere to social distancing rules.


Our toilets are open as normal and have soap and hot water for hand washing.

Crematorium grounds and chapel of remembrance

Our chapel and garden of remembrance are open as normal.

Apologies for the disruption

We apologise for all these restrictions and curtailments to our usual services and facilities and are looking forward to the time when we can get back to normal.  In the meantime, thank you for your support and cooperation.

Future changes

If/when there is any change to this advice, it will be updated as soon as it happens.
This advice was last updated on Friday 15th April 2021.


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