Safe-Distancing Measures at Funerals


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Safe-Distancing Measures at Funerals

A. Coverage

Q1. Do the rules apply to funerals held at naturally ventilated, non-closed spaces such as HDB void decks, the CCK Cemetery, or within private premises such as homes?

Yes, the rules specified in the Infectious Diseases (Measures to prevent spread of COVID-19) Regulations 2020 apply to funerals and funeral wakes held in any premises. The intent of the rules is to minimise activities and exposure so as to significantly reduce the risks of seeding new local clusters.

B. Visiting at Funeral Wake Space

Q1. If there are 29 family members at the funeral wake, does it mean only 1 visitor can come into the funeral wake space to pay his/her last respects?

For funeral and wakes, attendance should be limited as far as possible to family members only, and gatherings of 10 or fewer people at any one point. Much as we understand the need for friends to pay their last respect and give comfort to families in their grief, we urge the public to do their part in minimising social interactions so that we can slow down the spread of the virus together.

Funeral Directors, in making arrangements for the wake, are reminded to arrange not more than 20 seats for visitors, and keep physical spacing to at least metre between attendees. Visitors are advised to stagger their visits to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people at any one point.

Q2. If a funeral wake has a separate waiting area for attendees waiting to go into the funeral wake spaces due to the 20 pax limit, does the waiting area also have to follow the same 20 pax limit and to practice the 1 metre apart from each other?

Yes, the limit of 30 individuals and safe-distancing of 1 metre apart from each other also apply to the waiting area, if there is one, for the funeral wake.

Q3. Do we need to abide by the safe-distancing measures if my family do not hold funeral wakes and only gather for ritual washing at home and the final burial service?

Yes, the safe-distancing measures apply for the ritual washing and burial/cremation service, and attendance should be limited as far as possible to family members only, and gatherings of 30 or fewer people at any one point.

The appointed Funeral Director attending to the bereaved family would need to advise the family members accordingly and adhere to these measures, to abide by safe distancing rules and adopt good hygienic practices. Vulnerable persons such as the elderly should avoid attending the funeral for the protection of their own health.

Q4. Do we also need to keep to 30 pax limit for the foot procession?

Attendance should be limited as far as possible to family members only, and gatherings of 30 or fewer people at any one point. Attendees should also be spaced out during prayers and during the foot procession.

Q5. Do we need to limit 30 or fewer people on the bus transportation for the send-off?

Passengers should exercise safe-distancing and sit 1 metre or more apart from each other.

C. At the Funeral (Burial/Cremation)

Q1. For the final send-off at crematorium, can more than 30 family members enter the crematorium service hall?

For cremation/burial services, attendance should be limited as far as possible to family members only, and kept at 30 or fewer people. For cremation services at the Mandai Crematorium, there should not be more than 10 individuals in the service hall, viewing hall or waiting hall at any one time, and the service proceeding at the service hall is to be completed within the booked cremation session time.


D. Roles and Responsibility

Q1. As funeral director/staff may not be at funeral wake all the time, will they be penalised if the family allow more than 30 pax at the wake at any one time?

The intent of the rules is to minimise activities and exposure so as to significantly reduce the risks of seeding new local clusters. Funeral Directors and funeral parlour operators are required to advise families accordingly, and ensure that families limit the scale of gatherings in the funeral wake spaces to not more than 30 persons at any time. In arranging for the wake, not more than 30 seats should be set up for visitors, and there should be a physical spacing of at least 1 metre between attendees. Notices may also be put up at the wake venue to remind visitors of the rules.

We noted that some funeral directors have exercised their own initiatives to adopt crowd control measures such as ticket queueing system or online streaming of the wake or burial/cremation service, to help manage the crowd flow at the funeral wake space or burial/cremation service.

Q2. It states that for owners of places of worship, funeral parlours must ensure that less than 30 people are in any room at any time, does this mean that one funeral hall can only have 30 person and 30 chairs?

The intent of the rules is to minimise activities and exposure so as to significantly reduce the risks of seeding new local clusters. The principle is to have not more than 30 individuals at the funeral wake/funeral at any time. In addition, the safe-distancing measure of keeping 1 metre away from each other should be observed.

Q3. We provide service staff and engage priests/ monks for rites at the funerals. Do Funeral Director staff, priests/monks count towards the 30 pax criteria?

The limit of maximum 30 persons excludes staff and other personnel performing duties or rituals/rites at the wake and cremation or burial service e.g. monks, priests, funeral director staff. However, the number of staff should be minimised and limited to essential activities. The safe-distancing measure of keeping 1 metre away from each other should be observed.

Live band groups, live singing groups, hearse escort personnel are discouraged, in line with the principle to minimise activities and exposure from the gathering of crowds.

Q4. Why aren’t there any temperature screening at the Cremation service halls during this period?

Organisers of the funeral/cremation ceremony are to abide by the requirements as stipulated in the Infectious Diseases (Measures to prevent spread of COVID-19) Regulations 2020. Funeral directors should assist the families to record the temperatures of attendees of the cremation ceremony. Those with a temperature of 38°C and above or unwell should be turned away. Contact details of the attendees should be kept for contact tracing purposes, should it be required.

Q5. Is temperature screening required for visitors who attend burial services at the CCK Cemetery?

Yes. Organisers of the funeral/burial ceremony are to abide by the requirements as stipulated in the Infectious Diseases (Measures to prevent spread of COVID-19) Regulations 2020. Funeral directors should assist the families to record the temperatures of attendees of the burial ceremony. Those with a temperature of 38°C and above or unwell should be turned away. Contact details of attendees should be kept for contact tracing purposes, should it be required.