Co-op Funeralcare updates on coronavirus
As restrictions are lifted, we’re keeping up to date with the latest government guidance on funerals. This page has the latest information and advice on arranging and attending a funeral.
Last updated Monday 9th August 2021
If someone has died
Contact your local funeral home and we'll bring them into our care as soon as possible.
Find out what to do if someone has died
Arranging a funeral
You can visit one of our funeral homes to make funeral arrangements. Contact your local funeral director if you wish to book an appointment.
To ensure we can adhere to social distancing guidelines, we may limit the number of clients visiting at one time depending on the size of the funeral home. We may ask you to wait outside if there are already clients in the funeral home.
Wearing a face covering in certain indoor spaces remains a legal requirement in Scotland and Wales and is recommended in England. We ask that face coverings are worn when entering a funeral home, unless there's a valid reason for not wearing one. More details about face coverings and exemptions can be found on the government website.
Before you visit a funeral home, we'll ask you if:
- you, or anyone you live with, are self-isolating or awaiting a coronavirus test result,
- you’ve been in contact with someone with confirmed or suspected coronavirus,
- you’ve been showing the following symptoms: a new, continuous cough, high temperature, or a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.
How we’re keeping you safe:
We’ve put safety measures in place in our funeral homes to keep you and our colleagues safe. We’ll make sure that:
- social distancing guidelines are followed,
- face coverings are worn by everyone (unless exempt),
- hand sanitiser is available,
- surfaces/touch points are cleaned thoroughly between appointments.
We can advise you on all the latest funeral guidelines.
- Can I still arrange a funeral?
- Attending a funeral
- What’s changed for funeral services?
- How can I register the death?
- Visiting a funeral home
- Can I delay a funeral for a later date?
- Difficulty paying for a funeral
- Changes to pre-paid funeral plans
Can I still arrange a funeral?
Yes, you can. You can arrange a funeral over the phone or visit one of our funeral homes. You don’t need to make an appointment to visit one of our funeral homes, but if you’d prefer to do this, speak to your local funeral director.
Our colleagues will help you say your best goodbye by helping you arrange a fitting funeral. Whether it’s something personal or practical, we can help make it happen.
Attending a funeral
How many people can attend a funeral?
The maximum number of people legally allowed to attend a funeral depends where the funeral is to be held. There’s:
- a 1,000 person limit in Wales
- no limit on how many people can attend a funeral in England and Scotland
Crematoriums and places of worship each have an individual capacity depending on the size and layout of the building. This may impact how many people can attend the funeral.
Although there aren’t any legal requirements for social distancing in England and Scotland, we still ask that clients respect this when attending funerals. In Wales, households must keep 2 metres apart.
How many people are allowed at a wake?
In England, the number of attendees at a wake or post-funeral gathering should be determined by how many people a venue can safely allow, ensuring social distancing measures are in place.
In Wales, outdoor wakes are permitted for up to 50 people (not including children aged under 11 or carers) in regulated premises. Indoor wakes are permitted for up to 30 people (not including children aged under 11 or carers).
In Scotland, the Protection Level system determines how many people are allowed at a wake.
- Level 2 areas - up to 50 people
- Level 1 areas - up to 100 people
- Level 0 areas - up to 200 people
The maximum numbers are set by the venue of the post-funeral gathering or wake.
Attendees from different households will need to follow social distancing and other general guidelines on both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Do I need to wear a face covering at a funeral?
Wearing a face covering in certain indoor spaces remains a legal requirement in Scotland and Wales and is recommended in England.
Although it’s not a legal requirement in England, we still ask you wear a face covering if possible.
What’s changed for funeral services?
To maintain our levels of care to clients and colleagues, unfortunately there are a number of changes that we have to make to our service and we can no longer offer the following:
- bringing the coffin to rest at your home before the funeral
- taking fingerprints for silver fingerprints jewellery if the death is due to coronavirus
- catering services
- taking donations on families behalf - we ask that any donations are made direct to the chosen charity or organisation online
Please also note that there may be less flexibility of day and time of the funeral - if this is the case, we’ll work through all the options with you
Can the funeral still follow religious customs?
Your local funeral director will be able to advise on the options available for specific rituals and customs. Rest assured we’ll do everything we can to help you to say goodbye.
Are there any restrictions on the type of funeral for someone who’s died from coronavirus?
We’re well prepared to take care of people who have died with coronavirus in line with the official guidance. We have the necessary equipment, systems, processes and trained personnel to do this. We have specific ways of working prepared for anyone who dies in either an NHS facility or within the community, adapted from the PHE and HSE guidance.
There are no restrictions that prevent someone who has died from coronavirus having a funeral, whether that’s for a cremation or a burial. We’re following government guidelines closely and should the advice change we’ll provide updates on this page.
Do you have facilities for live streaming of funerals?
When arranging a funeral, we’ll work closely with the crematorium of your choice to understand if any live streaming or recording facilities are available for you to then share with wider family and friends (via a private web link) who are unable to attend in person.
Use of limousines
We've put measures in place to meet social distancing rules whilst using our vehicles. This is to protect you, your family and our colleagues as much as possible. Our cars have been adapted and fitted with screens separating the driver and passenger areas.
We advise that passengers do not travel if:
- they or someone they live with have experienced coronavirus symptoms within the last 10 days (including a high temperature, new and continuous cough or loss or change to sense of smell or taste)
- they or someone they live with have recently tested positive for coronavirus
- they or someone they live with are awaiting test results
- they've been asked to self-isolate for any other reason (e.g. traced as being in close contact with someone who’s been diagnosed with the virus)
Our colleagues will be maintaining social distancing with passengers.
The number of passengers allowed to travel in a limousine is limited to a maximum of 6 if they’re from the same household (including support bubbles).
Passengers from different households will not be able to share a limousine, unless they are in a support bubble.
We’re asking all passengers to wear a face covering, which fully covers the nose and mouth, when travelling in the vehicle. Passengers must provide their own face covering.
If you'd like more information on what to expect when travelling in one of our vehicles, speak to your local funeral director. They'll be able to answer any questions you may have about our vehicles.
How can I register the death?
You'll need to register the death before the funeral can take place. The person who registers the death usually needs to visit the local registrar to do this, however you can now do this over the phone or online.
If you’re self-isolating or unable to register the death with the registrar directly, we can do this on your behalf.
Find your local funeral home
Enter your town or postcode to find a Co-op funeral home near you.
Visiting a funeral home
So that we can protect our clients and colleagues, we may limit the number of clients visiting at one time depending on the size of the funeral home. We may ask you to wait outside or come back another time if there are already clients in the funeral home.
We’re likely to ask you a couple of questions, for example, to understand if you fall into a high-risk group. We’ll make sure there's a suitable distance between us to follow social distancing advice.
Do I need to wear a face covering?
If you’re visiting one of our funeral homes in Scotland or Wales, you must wear a face covering to your appointment, unless there is a valid reason you are unable to wear one. In England, we’re still asking clients to wear face coverings whenever they visit our funeral homes.
More details about face coverings and exemptions can be found on the government website.
My local Co-op Funeralcare is closed, what should I do?
Unfortunately, it may not be possible for all our funeral homes to remain open if colleagues are themselves self-isolating or are unwell. If your local funeral home has had to close temporarily, call our team on 0800 088 4872.
Can I still visit the person who has died in the chapel of rest?
You can continue to visit loved ones in our care, but we do ask that only immediate family or close friends do this.
If your loved one’s death was coronavirus related, you and your family can visit the chapel of rest, but the coffin must remain closed.
Will there be hygiene measures in place if I visit a funeral home?
We have hand washing facilities and hand sanitiser available and we’re taking every precaution in our funeral homes to make sure that we continue to have high standards of hygiene.
Can I visit a funeral home to buy a pre-paid funeral plan?
You can buy a Co-op funeral plan at one of our funeral homes. To ensure we can adhere to social distancing advice, we may have to limit the number of clients visiting at one time depending on the size of the funeral home. We may ask you to wait outside if there are already clients in the funeral home.
Can I delay a funeral for a later date, when government controls have been lifted?
Funerals should take place as soon as possible, rather than be delayed indefinitely.
You may want to think about holding a celebration of life or a memorial service at a later date when restrictions have been lifted and we’ll give you all the help you need with this.
What should I do if I have difficulty paying for a funeral?
We know a funeral can often be an unexpected cost. If during the funeral arrangement, you feel like the funeral is costing more than you’re comfortable with, tell your funeral director and they will help you find ways to keep the cost down.
If you’d prefer to pay in instalments, you may be eligible to apply for a funeral loan through our partner Funeral Safe. You can find details on loan amounts and repayments, eligibility and details on how to apply here.
Alternatively, you may be able to get help with funeral costs from the government.
Changes to pre-paid funeral plans
What if items in my funeral plan are no longer available due to coronavirus?
Changes we’ve had to make to our funeral services to comply with government controls could impact our ability to fulfil the services included in any Co-op funeral plans redeemed at this time.
We’re currently providing partial refunds on funeral plans where the services can’t be met, your funeral director will talk you through anything that cannot be fulfilled and arrange a refund for these services.
What if I can't pay for my funeral plan instalments?
If you already have a Co-op funeral plan and are struggling to pay for your plan, please contact us and we can discuss all available options with you.
Refunds and cheques for cancelled plans
If you’ve cancelled a plan, the refund generally takes up to 4 weeks to process. If you have waited longer than the agreed 4 weeks please email our customer care team at firstname.lastname@example.org they will be able to provide help with any queries.
Speak with your local funeral director if you have any questions about arranging or attending a funeral. Each local area will probably do things a little differently but your funeral director will be able to advise on this.
We’re here to help support and guide you through. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 0800 088 4872
Find your local funeral home
Enter your town or postcode to find a Co-op funeral home near you.