Registrar’s Directive: New COVID-19 indoor and outdoor funeral restrictions

Effective June 30, 2021

This Registrar’s Directive sets out new rules on attendance at funerals and visitations, in conjunction with COVID-19 restriction changes announced today by the Government of Ontario.

Starting Wednesday, June 30, funeral gatherings (funeral services and visitations) are subject to the following attendance restrictions.

Indoor Funerals 
  1. The lesser of 25 per cent capacity of the room* or the number that can be maintained with physical distancing of two meters to a maximum attendance of 75 people. The maximum capacity of the room must be posted to be easily visible.
    *25 per cent capacity is determined by taking the total square metres of the floor area accessible to the public, not including furniture or fixtures, dividing by 16 and rounding down to the nearest whole number. O.Reg.263/20 s.3(3)
  2. Funerals are required to be staffed at a ratio of one (1) staff per 15 guests to a maximum of four (4) staff for 75.
  3. Multiple visitations are permitted, but they must be scheduled in complete groups with cleaning/disinfecting between visitations. In the alternative, lining-up or cycling of guests is permitted only if the line is actively managed by a staff member to preserve two-metres physical distancing between guests (whether indoor or outdoor).
  4. Guests must be logged to enable contact tracing. Records must be kept for 30 days.
  5. There must be passive screening of guests, meaning have COVID signage at the entrance for guests to self-assess. (Here’s a link to the BAO’s screening sign, found on our COVID-19 web section.)  
Outdoor Funerals / Services at Cemeteries 
  1. Attendance is limited to the number that can be maintained with physical distancing of two metres, to a maximum attendance of 75 people.
  2. If the gathering is under the care of a funeral director (if the funeral establishment was contracted to provide services at the cemetery) then the gathering must be managed by the funeral home to ensure physical distancing, with staffing at a ratio of one (1) staff per 15 guests to a maximum of four (4) staff for 75.
  3. Cemeteries may place further restrictions on access. Funeral professionals should communicate with local cemeteries in advance to determine what further restrictions may be in place. 

This province-wide Registrar’s Directive applies to all funeral services, regardless of the venue. 

Exceptions – Waterloo and Porcupine

The exceptions will be funeral services held in the:

  • Porcupine Health Unit jurisdiction, which enters Step One restrictions on Friday, June 25. Licensed bereavement sector operations in the Porcupine Health Unit jurisdiction will follow the BAO’s Step One Registrar’s Directive, issued in earlier this month, until further notice. 
  • Waterloo Region Health Unit, which has delayed entering Step Two of Ontario’s reopening plan. It will remain in the government’s Step One, with licensed bereavement sector operations following the BAO’s Step One Registrar’s Directive, until further notice.

The intention going forward is to phase-in increases in attendance numbers and fewer requirements as part of the Government of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen. Except for the Porcupine and Waterloo areas, the province will remain in Step Two and evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. As indicators improve, the government will announce when the province will move to Step Three of its reopening plan.  

Got questions on this Registrar’s Directive? Visit our FAQ page.