Funeral Regulations During the Initial 21 Day Lockdown Period

The Archbishop has secured permission for clergy to conduct funerals, yet under the stringent conditions mentioned below.

These have been summarized from the Regulations and Gazette Notices issued on the 25th of March 2020. Lockdown effective from 23h59 on Thursday 26th March 2020.

  1. During the lock down period we are all confined to our places of residence unless:
    1. strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service (these are listed in Annexure D of the regulations and include funeral services),
    2. obtaining an essential good or service (e.g. food and cleaning goods and some documents),
    3. obtaining a social grant,
    4. or seeking emergency, life- saving or chronic medical attention.
    5. All churches must be shut with immediate effect and may not be used for any gathering.  Services will now have to be recorded and live streamed from home chapels or studies.
  2. The only persons allowed on church premises are :
    1. people needed for maintenance or security
    2. those whose home or place of residence is there (caretakers, or rectors and their families)
  3. Regulations for funerals:
    1. No funerals can be held in a home, church, hall or school but only at a mortuary or funeral home.
    2. Please be aware that further conditions may apply as relevant to the applicable municipality and all guidelines and directives of funeral homes and enforcement officers must be complied with. These may include limits of time for the funeral service so please confirm this beforehand.
    3. No night vigils are allowed, and all safety measures must be strictly adhered to.
    4. Attendance at funerals are limited to 50 This number includes service ministers and children.
    5. The consensus view is that in order to meet this condition, an invitation will have to be issued for the funeral and a list of attendees
    6. Entrance and movement may only be allowed on presenting the invitation when stopped on the road as well as being given admission to the funeral home. Further guidance may be provided by the funeral home.
    7. Persons availing themselves of this essential service must also be aware that they may be subjected to COVID-19 screening by an enforcement officer. (if feeling ill or having flu-like symptoms best to stay home as possible you may be placed in quarantine.)
    8. Also, if cause of death is COVID-19 related, there are special requirements for these funerals and again you will be provided these by the funeral home.
    9. Transport used to and from the funeral service must carry no more than 50% of its capacity (so for e.g. a 20-seater kombi may only carry a maximum of 10 persons, social distancing and hand and coughing hygiene as detailed below must be maintained.)
    10. ALL attendees at the funeral service will have to maintain strict hand hygiene. (Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or if not possible, cleaning of hands with sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Also, hygiene coughing is encouraged, (cough into v of one elbow and use other hands elbow to greet if that method of greeting preferred!) You may also cough into a tissue but these must be disposed of as set out below.
    11. Social distancing and the maintenance of recommended hygiene practices is encouraged. Municipalities are directed to monitor this.
    12. Social distancing is recommended as a distance of at least one meter apart.
    13. Hugging or holding of hands not encouraged (please ask for guidance from funeral home as this extremely difficult for the bereaved).
    14. Hand hygiene also to be used when leaving the funeral home.
    15. This may have to be repeated at the cemetery or crematoria, again please follow requirements of the funeral home.
    16. All tissues etc. used during the funeral service at the home and cemetery or crematoria must please be placed in a special container (medical disposal bin or properly sealed shopping plastic {yes I know} bag) and then disposed of as medical waste and must please not be placed in normal waste disposal bins. Local GP’s and funeral home should be able to assist in this regard.

Ministers who are to perform a funeral service would need a special permit issued by the Diocesan Bishop or VG

  1. Please also be aware that any person that does not observe the restriction on the movement of persons during the lockdown, including the regulations for funerals, or opens a place of worship is guilty of an offence and on conviction, is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.