Today the First Minister announced the intention to lift the current ‘stay at home’ rule on the 2 April 2021 and replace it with guidance to stay local unless travelling for an essential purpose. The First Minister also announced the intention to move most of Scotland (with the exception of the islands) into a modified Level 3 on 26 April 2021 should infection rates allow (or as soon as possible afterwards), this includes an easing of funeral restrictions. This potential change is dependent on continuing success in suppressing the virus and vaccination progress. Once this change occurs, up to a maximum of 50 people observing physical distancing will be permitted at funeral services and post-funeral gatherings such as wakes in regulated venues, however no alcohol will be permitted at post-funeral gatherings. The full detail of the First Minister’s announcement can be found in the updated timetable for easing restrictions.
The Scottish Government’s guidance for funeral services, funeral directors, and burial and cremation authorities will be updated soon. As the COVID-19 restrictions ease, it remains important to follow public health advice about maintaining 2 metre physical distancing, wearing a face covering, providing test and protect details, and ensuring good hand and cough hygiene. If a person is showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection, or has tested positive for COVID-19, they should not attend a funeral service in person.
The Scottish Government is grateful to the funeral sector for playing an important part in implementing these changes and in communicating these key messages to families you work with.