Are Wakes Allowed In Scotland

James Lee
• Friday, 30 October, 2020
• 7 min read

From the start of the day on Friday 8 January 2021, in areas placed into lockdown, post-funeral gatherings such as wakes and funeral teas are not permitted. Organized occasions such as meals or gatherings to mark a significant event like a funeral will understandably involve people who know one another well, and who may wish to greet or console one another.

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Consequently, the requirements for physical distancing, hygiene and other mitigation measures should be carefully followed both by the venues hosting such occasions and those attending the events. It is recommended that you check with the venue in advance how many people can be accommodated while still observing physical distancing guidance.

In all areas of Scotland, funeral-related commemorative events (e.g. ashes scatterings, stone setting, visiting a grave) can take place but should be limited to a maximum of 20 people. 30 Nov 2021 Minor amendment to language in funeral wakes section to include 'post-funeral gatherings'.

As part of the new lockdown measures for all areas of Scotland currently in level 4 (all mainland Scotland) announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today (4 January), funeral services may continue and in-person attendance at funeral services continues to be limited to a maximum of 20 people. Funeral-related commemorative events (e.g. scattering of ashes or stone setting) may also continue in an outdoor, public place or in a regulated indoor venue, with a maximum of 20 people in attendance.

21 Jan 2021 Updated to reflect the latest changes to protection levels 30 Nov 2021 Minor amendment to language in funeral wakes section to include 'post-funeral gatherings'.

7 Jul 2021 Added a link to the funeral guidance in the Coronavirus: what you can do guide. People should avoid unnecessary contact and stick to lockdown rules, England's chief medical officer Prof Chris Witty has said.

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England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all introduced lockdowns. You are not allowed to leave home to meet people socially if you don't live together, or have a support bubble with them.

Shopping for essentials such as food and medicine Meeting your support or childcare bubble Children can move between separated parents Working where it is “unreasonable” to work from home, for example nannies, cleaners and tradespeople Education, training, childcare, medical appointments and emergencies Religious worship Moving house Exercise Pubs and restaurants and non-essential shops have closed, as have indoor and outdoor sports facilities including gyms and tennis courts.

Scots are to be ordered to stay at home amid a fresh Covid-19 lockdown which will see schools remain closed to pupils until February. Places of worship are to be closed, group exercise banned, and schools will largely operate via online and remote learning.

The Scottish government believes that without further action the NHS here would run out of beds for COVID-19 patients within a month. This new alert comes at the start of a new year which also brings new hope for a route out of the pandemic with two vaccines now beginning to offer protection.

Scottish Conservative group leader Ruth Davidson raised concerns about online learning, saying it was vital that pupils had “equal access to high-quality education”. Ms Sturgeon said her government had “agonized” over the decision on schools, and said the “fundamental priority” was to re-open them in full as soon as possible.

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There are rules on how many can attend funerals (Photo: Getty) Sadly weddings, other than in “exceptional circumstances” cannot take place in England. This will affect the couples who had planned to marry in the coming weeks, including many who will have already rescheduled their cancelled 2020 wedding.

University students will not be allowed to return to campus and will be expected to study from home unless they are undertaking courses in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, education, social work, and courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSB) assessments or mandatory activities that cannot be rescheduled. Places of worship can remain open for individual prayers and communal worship, but weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are allowed only in exceptional circumstances, All non-essential shops, hairdressers and personal care salons must close, although supermarkets, pharmacies, off-licences, builders’ merchants and garden centers are among businesses which can stay open.

The new ‘rule of six’ means that social gatherings of more than six people in Scotland will not be allowed, bar some exceptions. Scotland currently remains in phase 3 of its lockdown route map, with a limit of 20 people in place for funeral services.

If you are considered part of the higher risk or extremely high risk group and wish to attend a funeral service in person, then “you must seriously consider this in line with important public health advice applicable to you and available on NHS Inform.” The restrictions are in place to help prevent and mitigate any potential spread of Covid-19 among different households and the wider community.

All attendees must maintain at least a 2-metre distance from each other at all times, except where they are from the same household, or a carer and the person is assisted by the carer. Those in attendance should also maintain good hand and cough hygiene, both before and after attending a service, including regular handwashing. If it is not possible for the person leading the funeral service or providing the eulogy to remain at least 2 meters away from others, or to use a protective screen, then they must wear a face covering.

Much food and whiskey was consumed at wakes, and in some traditions there was a set amount one could drink or was given. It was sometimes a burden for the poor to provide food and drink to all the mourners, but it was also a requirement of the funeral process.

In the 17th century one Englishman put down to paper his not very flattering observances of his tour of Scotland, which did include a Scottish funeral: “When anyone dies, the sexton or bell-man Goethe about the streets, with a small bell in his hand, which he tinkle all along as he Goethe, and now, and then he makes a stand and proclaims who is dead, and invites the people to come to the funeral at such an hour. Ringing a bell seems to have been a common element of funerals in Scotland, and the “bell-man” was paid for his services.

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