Limit of 30 mourners at funerals in England to be lifted this month

The 30-person limit on the number of mourners who can attend funerals in England is to be lifted later this month, the government has announced, as Dominic Raab indicated that masks may still need to be used after 21 June.

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said on Monday that the legally enforced limit would be removed as part of the next stage of lockdown easing, expected on 17 May.


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The capacity will then be determined by how many people venues such as places of worship or funeral homes can safely accommodate while maintaining social distancing.

This includes indoor and outdoor venues, and all organisers must continue to be Covid-secure and follow social distancing rules. While venue capacities will vary, the department said many would be able to allow “significantly” more than 30 people to attend.

The department said attendances for other life or commemorative events, such as weddings and wakes, were expected to still be limited to 30 people in stage 3 of the roadmap, while barmitzvahs and christenings will be allowed again for the first time since the new year.

Hospitality venues, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen. Limited crowds will be allowed at sporting events, and foreign holidays could be permitted for people living in England.

All remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from 21 June, allowing for larger events to go ahead and nightclubs to reopen.

Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said on Sunday that “some safeguards” may stay in place when legal restrictions end, such as continued use of masks and physical distancing.

Raab told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “We want to get to the position at the end of June when we can get life back as close to normal as possible, but there will still need to be some safeguards in place.” Quizzed on the measures likely to be retained after stage 4 of the roadmap, Raab said: “I think it will be around distancing, maybe there will be something around masks.”

He said no decision has been made on whether to vaccinate children, and the government was looking at “different contingencies”.

For funerals, a limit of 30 attenders was applied at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh last month.

Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, said: “Losing a loved one has been incredibly hard during the pandemic and I am pleased we are now in a position, thanks to everyone’s continued efforts and the rollout of the vaccine, to remove these limits and allow more friends and family to come together and pay their respects.

© Photograph: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images
A funeral cortege for a hospital porter passes Southampton general hospital in May 2020.

“I look forward to working with faith leaders responsible for places of worship, and those who manage venues such as funeral homes, to introduce the new arrangements in a way that continues to keep people safe.”

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