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Funerals, memorial services and wakes

We’ve developed this guidance to help you create and maintain a safe environment when organising a funeral or wake.

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New COVID-19 compliance measures for funerals

Funerals will be limited to 100 people, subject to the one person per four square metre rule.

Funeral homes and crematoria must be registered as a COVID Safe business.

Measures are in force from 12:01am Friday 24 July 2020.

Read the NSW Government's announcement about the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions.

Having a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place will help to protect your staff and attendees.

You can either:

Updating your plan

You may need to update the plan in the future, as restrictions and advice changes.

The plan available on this page will always be the most recent.

If you have registered as a COVID Safe business online and you update your safety plan, you do not need to register again.

Suggested checklist for your COVID-19 Safety Plan

  • Ensure attendees are aware they should only attend if they are feeling well and do not have any respiratory or COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Consider reminding your guests that it’s important they don’t attend if they are feeling unwell and encourage them to get tested.
  • If a guest has symptoms and asks if they should attend, encourage them to see their GP or attend a local COVID clinic.
  • Discourage people who are from an area of high COVID-19 transmission from attending the funeral in person. If the funeral is in an area of high COVID risk or must have guests from a high COVID-19 area then limit the gathering or consider having two separate gatherings with people from higher risk areas in only small numbers.
  • Think about ways in which attendees can be involved through a video broadcast or live stream, if they can’t attend due to illness or travel restrictions,or are a vulnerable person and wish to avoid gatherings. Speak to the funeral director about any available options to stream the event.
  • If you are aware of attendees that are at high-risk of developing COVID-19 complications such as elderly people or people with conditions affecting their immunity, consider offering an online service.
  • If you will serve alcohol at the wake or service, consider ways to ensure there is responsible use, such as limiting bar tabs or drinks packages. Alcohol can only be consumed by seated patrons.

  • Capacity must not exceed 100 attendees, or one attendee per 4 square metres for a funeral or memorial service. Small venues can have up to 50 attendees (without the 4 square metre rule) provided non-household contacts can maintain 1.5 metres of physical distance, whichever is the lesser.
  • Group singing, such as choirs, is high risk and should be avoided. Solo singing and wind instruments can spread COVID-19 if a performer is infected. If these are involved in the funeral or service ensure there are protections in place for attendees, including at least 3 metres distance from performers.

  • Consider seating guests from the same household next to each other, to make it easier to fit everyone safely together. If seating people at tables ensure these are assigned and that there is minimal mingling between people at different tables. There should be no more than 10 people per table.
  • Remind participants of the importance of physical distancing before, during and after the funeral or memorial service. Whilst it is a very natural instinct to hold or hug each other when grieving, this is where COVID-19 can spread easily. Consider alternative ways people could offer condolences that don’t involve close contact, such as through a condolence book or recorded messages.

  • Consider alternatives to cash donation collections, such as online donations or electronic funds transfers.
  • Think about how other hygiene risks can be minimised, such as not sharing food or cigarettes/e-cigarettes and making sure people can remember which glassware is theirs.
  • If you would like a condolence book, consider asking guests to bring their own pen, or have a plan to clean any shared pens and the area around the book in-between guests signing. Consider alternatives like a digital condolence book that can be filled in from home.
  • Talk to the funeral director about alternatives to books, booklets, or other shared objects used during the service.

  • Keep a digitised record of guests who attend the funeral and/or wake, including a contact number. Make sure you also keep a record of additional attendees such as caterers. Keep this list for 28 days after the funeral or wake. If there is an attendee at the funeral who gets diagnosed with COVID-19 public health will ask that you provide this record to assist with contact tracing.

It's free to become a COVID Safe business

Step 1

Download your COVID-19 Safety plan

Download, print and complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan: funerals, memorial services and wakes (PDF, 197.84 KB) for your business. NOTE: a revised safety plan will be available shortly incorporating new compliance measures for funerals that come into force at 12:01am Friday 24 July.


Step 2

Register as a COVID Safe business 

If you've completed and downloaded your COVID-19 Safety Plan, you can register your business as COVID Safe.

Register a COVID Safe business


Last updated: 24 July 2020

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