April 7, 2020 – This directive adds a greater limitation on the number of people who can be at funeral homes, not counting funeral home staff.
The new maximum number of people who can be at a funeral home at one time is 10 or fewer. This pertains to the entire funeral home.
You need to make the safety of you and your staff the priority. Focus on accommodating as few people as possible. The goal is safety for all families and all funeral home staff.
My March 23 directive had placed the limit at 10 at each funeral or visitation. We now must make this more stringent in order to protect families and funeral home staff.
Remember, if only one of your staff members comes down with COVID-19, your funeral home could be closed for two weeks or longer. We need you all open during this very hard time.
The funeral home must be large enough for people to maintain physical distancing of at least two metres (six feet) apart from each other at all times, to a maximum of 10 people — in the entire funeral home establishment at one time.
Even if you have unlimited space, or are outside, the maximum is 10. The number does not include funeral home staff.
Note, that if you advertise a funeral, visitation or gathering in any medium you must state this limitation or link to this directive.
Follow this law strictly.
Thank you all for the professional and caring work you do for Ontario families every day. Stay vigilant.
We are ready…together with you to provide the best, safe bereavement services to Ontario families.
This directive is made pursuant to an Emergency Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
-Carey Smith, CEO/Registrar, BAO
Directive Questions and Answers
Q1. Can I have 10 people in one visitation room and another 10 in the chapel room?
A1. No. The 10 maximum directive means 10 people for the entire funeral home facility, not counting funeral home staff. This is a strict rule by necessity. Public and staff safety are paramount. Try to have fewer than 10 in your funeral home.
Remember, funeral homes are subject to the government’s law and risk of civil lawsuits if they are not complying fully with the 10-max directive and law of the land.
Consider what happened in Newfoundland, where 75 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the entire province have been traced to one funeral home. Now all funerals and visitations have been banned there.
Q2. Can people wait outside in their cars, or in a line six feet apart until 10 people leave the funeral home?
A2. No. That would enable potential spreading of COVID-19 in cars, or in lines. This is a tough directive. A necessary one. Please stick to it rigidly. Thank you.
Q3. Do babies count as one person or half, toward the 10 maximum?
A3. Each baby or child counts as one person. Please aim for 10 or fewer in your funeral home. This is about minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19. It spreads easily.