People mourning the death of a loved one in England will not be able to hold a wake in a hospitality venue if they are in a tier 3 area, the government has said.
Guidance published on Monday initially said that for all three tiers wakes for up to 15 people were permitted in Covid-secure venues or outdoors but not in private dwellings. However, on Tuesday the government changed that stance.
A No 10 spokesperson told journalists wakes would no longer be able to take place in hospitality venues in tier 3, or very high alert, areas, creating a set of rules stricter than have applied during the current lockdown.
“We’ve obviously been clear throughout the pandemic and the medical experts have advised that indoor gatherings where people spend a substantial amount of time in other people’s company increases the risk of spreading the virus,” the spokesperson said.
“We fully acknowledge as we have done throughout the pandemic that wakes and other such events are obviously incredibly difficult times for people. But it’s obviously important that we continue to do everything we can to reduce the transmission of the virus.”
During the latest national lockdown, venues such as community centres, places of worship, hotels, exhibition centres, cemeteries and crematoriums, have been permitted to remain open to hold wakes “where the venue manager has carried out a risk assessment and taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of Covid-19”.
In the UK-wide lockdown in spring, community centres, hotels and exhibition centres were required to close, while places of worship were permitted to open for funerals only.
Even before the first lockdown was announced, the Church of England announced its own ban on services after funerals, such as wakes, on its premises. It has yet to reverse this ban.