Registrar’s Directive: Province-wide cemetery gathering limits

The Government of Ontario has announced new gathering limits for the entire province.  
To ensure safety and minimize potential spread of COVID-19, this Registrar’s Directive extends the restrictions for gatherings at cemeteries to the entire Province, effective Monday, Sept. 21.
This Registrar’s Directive rescinds the Registrar’s Directive of Sept. 18.
Maximum at cemeteries
Until further notice, all cemeteries in Ontario must limit attendance to a maximum of 25 people (not counting staff) at all gatherings, attendances, funerals, visitations, funeral receptions, and graveside services, subject to the following exception.
Outdoor funeral services (visitations, receptions and graveside services) up to a maximum of 100 attendees may still take place at a cemetery or funeral home’s property, providing:  

  • a. The service is under the control and direction of a funeral director  
  • b. The service (at the cemetery) has the consent of the cemetery operator for numbers over 25
  • c. Funeral directors have one staff member for every 10 attendees to properly manage the gathering and ensure physical distancing is maintained
  • d. Guests are registered/logged to enable contact tracing

Cemeteries are expected to control access to their property. Cemeteries are permitted to restrict attendance numbers to less than the maximum. (Funeral professionals should confirm these restrictions in advance of services and advise families accordingly.) 
Funeral establishments must advertise that attendance may be restricted whenever they publish death notices or obituaries that refer to any part of a service occurring at a cemetery including interment.
Funeral homes
Funeral homes will continue to follow the existing capacity directives for indoor funeral services, which are: 

  • Indoor funeral services, visitations and receptions are limited to 30 per cent of the capacity of the room, while maintaining two-metre physical distancing between attendees. This applies to people gathering indoors for religious services, rites or ceremonies. Funeral establishments must ensure there is one staff member for every 10 guests.  

Thank you for your cooperation in these efforts to keep families and your staff safe, and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

-Carey Smith, CEO/Registrar, BAO