The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 came into force in England on 5th November 2020. The Regulations state that no person may leave home or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse. (see Part 2 5.-(1)).

Among the exceptions listed in the Regulations that allow people to leave home are:

(a) to attend a funeral

(b) to attend a commemorative event celebrating the life of a person who has died

(c) to visit a burial ground or garden of remembrance, to pay respects to a member of P’s household, a family member or friend (see Part 2 6.-(9))

The Regulations also prohibit indoor or outdoor gatherings of more than 2 people, except for in certain circumstances, including:

Funerals: (see Part 3 11.-(13))

(a) the gathering is for the purposes of a funeral

(b) the gathering consists of no more than 30 persons

(c) the gathering takes place at premises, other than a private dwelling which—

(i) are operated by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body, or (ii) are part of premises used for the operation of a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body, and (d) the gathering organiser or manager takes the required precautions in relation to the gathering (see regulation 14).

Commemorative event following a person’s death (see Part 3 11.-(14)

(a) the gathering is for the purposes of a commemorative event to celebrate the life of a person who has died (for example, scattering ashes or a stone setting ceremony)

(b) the gathering consists of no more than 15 persons

(c) the gathering takes place at premises other than a private dwelling, and (d) the gathering organiser or manager takes the required precautions in relation to the gathering (see regulation 14).

Regulation 14 states:

The required precautions
14.—(1) The gathering organiser or (as the case may be) the manager in relation to a gathering takes the required precautions for the purposes of this Part by meeting both of the following requirements.

(2) The first requirement is that the organiser or manager has carried out a risk assessment that would satisfy the requirements of regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999(a) (whether or not the organiser or manager is subject to those Regulations).

(3) The second requirement is that the organiser or manager has taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, taking into account— (a) the risk assessment carried out under paragraph (2), and (b) any guidance issued by the government which is relevant to the gathering.
The Regulations also state:

A person who is responsible for a crematorium or burial ground must ensure that the crematorium or burial ground is closed to members of the public, except—

(a) for funerals or burials

(b) commemorative events celebrating the life of a person who has died

(c) to allow a person to pay respects to a member of their household, a family member or friend (see Part 4 18.-(10)

It is unclear how a crematorium or burial ground can be closed whilst still allowing visits to pay respects, and advice is currently being sought on this. In the meantime, you are advised to have clear signage advising that only those attending a funeral, commemorative event or paying their respects can enter the site.

The number of people who can attend a funeral remains at 30, with a maximum of 15 being able to attend a commemorative event celebrating the life of a person who has died.

Public Health England are due to revise their COVID-19: guidance for arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic in light of the revised regulations. This will be circulated to members once it has been received.