Humanists UK statement on new funeral guidelines, including attendance

In response to new guidance on funerals issued yesterday by the Government, including on funeral attendance, Humanists UK’s Head of Ceremonies Isabel Russo said:

‘The law stipulates that you can only leave your home to attend a funeral if it is for a member of your household, a close family member, or – if the deceased does not have either of these – then a friend or more distant relative may attend.

‘To ensure people are kept safe and to prevent confusion around who can attend, we are asking our funeral celebrants to confirm, in advance, the list of close family members who plan to attend the funeral, to check the crematorium’s policy as maximum numbers allowed currently vary, and to reiterate to families the legal definition so that numbers can be reviewed before the day. We hope this will go some way in supporting families to make difficult decisions, and ensuring that numbers are kept at manageable levels to meet social distancing requirements.

‘While this situation is not ideal for anyone, we will continue to work with bereaved families to help them have a meaningful ceremony, including offering live streaming and video recording where available. Families who choose to will also be able to have a memorial in the future when other loved ones can attend, and can contribute to our online Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive, a unique opportunity to safekeep the tributes written to celebrate and remember those who have died, accessible to all.’


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at or phone 020 7324 3078 or 07393 344293.

Read the Government’s guidelines.

Read Humanists UK’s previous guidelines on funerals, covering live streaming and gestures to replace hugging.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.