Funerals and reducing the spread of COVID-19
It can be a difficult time when you have lost a friend or loved one. Planning a funeral can be overwhelming, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are planning a funeral, this information can help you understand the current restrictions in place that will affect funeral arrangements.
Restrictions on the attendance of people at funerals
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the State Government introduced provisions to prohibit certain activities and limit the number of people who can attend a funeral.
Under the current provisions (with effect Monday May 18, 2020), up to 20 attendees can attend a funeral indoors or 30 attendees for outdoor services unless an exemption is approved.
Mourners attending must have their names registered by the Funeral Director.
When arranging the venue, the facility must be able to accommodate the social distance and public gathering rules which require at least 4 square metres per person. People who are needed to conduct the funeral, such as the funeral director and the funeral celebrant, are not generally included as part of the attendance limits unless the funeral is in a small (indoor or outdoor) venue and impacted by prohibited gathering requirements. Penalties apply if this limit is not followed.
It can be a difficult task to limit the number of people who can attend the funeral of your loved one. However, it is important to understand that these measures have been introduced to protect your health and well-being and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
For more information on these provisions, visit the WA Government website.
Exemptions from the attendance limits
A person can apply for approval to allow more than the prescribed number of people to attend a funeral.
It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of your funeral director and discuss the implications of having more than the prescribed number of people attend the funeral.
Provisions requiring people to observe social distancing may make it difficult to accommodate a funeral with more than the permitted number of people.
To apply for an exemption approval, an applicant is required to:
Irrespective of any exemption approval, there must still be at least four square metres of space for each person present. It is important that you discuss your options with the funeral director to ensure you comply with these requirements.
If approval is granted, it is important for everyone’s health and safety that the limit of people specified in the approval is not exceeded. If the limit of people in the approval is exceeded, the cemetery or funeral director may not be able to undertake the funeral in accordance with current requirements. This will create additional stress for everyone involved.
For more information on community activities such as funerals, please read the Closure and Restriction (Limit the Spread) Directions on the WA Government website.
For more information on social distancing requirements, visit the WA Government website.
Travelling to funerals
The State Government has introduced restrictions on travel into and within Western Australia to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Travelling into Western Australia and travelling between a number of regions within Western Australia has been prohibited, except in certain circumstances.
A person travelling to Western Australia or travelling between different regions within which restrictions may still be enforceable in Western Australia to attend a funeral, can be exempt from the travel restrictions on compassionate grounds.
For more information on these travel restrictions, visit the WA Government website.
Involving everyone in the funeral
A funeral is important in working through the grief in the loss of a loved one. There are ways to still include everyone in a funeral, even if they cannot attend in person:
- consider live streaming the service;
- have loved ones send video messages to be screened at the funeral;
- consider having written messages of support shared at the funeral;
- record the funeral and create a video to share with others
- ask friends and family to stop for a moment of remembrance at a specific date and time.
It is important that everyone has an opportunity to express their grief and share in supporting one another through this difficult time.
Planning a memorial at a later date
One option to consider is planning a memorial for your loved one at a later date when there is no longer a pandemic and restrictions on gatherings. This will allow you to celebrate and reflect on the life of your loved one with all the people they shared a connection with.
A memorial can be held at the cemetery, or at another location that has significant meaning to your loved one and will provide an opportunity for all of those who wish to pay their respects to do so.
It is important to note that the State Government is making continual changes as the State Emergency unfolds. We recommend that you visit the State Government’s website to keep up to to date with additional changes. Visit the WA Government website.
MCB COVID-19 Response
The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board (MCB) continues to follow advice provided by the Department of Health and is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment to all client families, employees and our communities.
Appropriate measures and protocols have been implemented and continue to be developed to manage this situation; we are monitoring developments closely.
As a precautionary measure, we respectfully request that if you have travelled internationally over the last 14 days or are experiencing symptoms similar to cold or flu that you:
- do not attend funeral services and after-funeral gatherings.
- refrain from coming onsite and reschedule any appointments that you have with us.
We are able to provide many of our services by phone and email and would suggest that these be the most appropriate ways to serve you at this point in time. Also, please be advised that we are moving to a cash-less environment due to COVID-19 contact minimisation. We accept BPay, EFTPOS and credit cards.
Please contact our Client Services team on 1300 793 109 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you like to speak with us.