COVID-19 FAQ: For grieving families and bereavement licensees

Registrar’s Directive: New temporary rules for funeral services
Read the BAO’s Jan. 4 Registrar’s Directive here.

Click here for the BAO’s COVID-19: Read…together resource page
(including posters for bereavement sector establishments.)

Jan. 3, 2022 – Government of Ontario news release –
Ontario Temporarily Moving to Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen — “…the province will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022)…Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits….” — Read the government’s Jan. 3 news release here.

BAO answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why are these funeral-related restrictions necessary?
A1. The BAO is minimizing the risk of infection to grieving families and to funeral staff so they can continue to serve those families during this time. Funerals are high-risk events for the transmission of COVID. They involve close contact, touching, consoling, tears, and runny noses. They are often held in confined spaces with health-compromised people and seniors present.

Q2. How many people can attend a funeral or visitation?
A2.
Attendance at indoor funerals and visitations will be limited to 50 per cent capacity of a particular room with physical distancing of two metres, regardless of vaccination status.
Visitations of no more than 50 per cent capacity of a particular room may be held, but must be pre-scheduled and conducted by appointment to prevent line-ups or congestion.

Q3. Do I have to wear a mask?
A3.
Yes, everyone must wear a mask or face covering at all funeral services. Physical distancing of two metres must also always be maintained.

Q4. Can funeral homes serve food or beverages now?
A4.
No, the serving of food and beverages is prohibited. But, box lunches can be made available for guests to take away off the premises. Please note that, funeral establishments must also disable their on-site coffee and beverage dispensers. All of this is being done to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

Q5. Can families still witness cremations?
A5.
Yes, but cremation witnessing is limited to a maximum of five people, plus funeral or crematorium staff.

Q6. How many people can attend a funeral service held at a cemetery?
A6.
Outdoor funerals and graveside services are limited to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance. Physical distancing of two metres must always be maintained.

Q7. What are the restrictions, laws and or rules for coming to Canada for a funeral service?
A7. The Government of Canada has a web section covering this subject during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click on the link to the federal government’s website: Compassionate entry for travellers and limited release from quarantine.