COVID-19 – Funeral Regulations

04 May 2020

With the onset of COVID-19, we are adapting constantly to battle the spread of the virus while staying afloat in these difficult times. NEA has released and updated their guidelines and limitations for funerals, crematoria and columbaria in Singapore according to the severity of the spread. As these rules are updated frequently, it might be difficult for the public to stay afloat on all funerary requirements during this time. This page will act as a guide for COVID-19 era funerals and our respective recommendations for funerals.

Our Commitment to a Graceful Funeral

A funeral can still be graceful even with a reduced attendance, and we are here to help families in their grief during this uncertain times. There might be various funeral-related questions in your mind that remain unanswered in this article. Call our funeral director so we may advise you in arranging your specific needs while still staying within the boundaries set out by the Circuit Breaker.

Funeral Wakes

Current Regulations in Place

Funeral wakes are still allowed to be held, be it at void decks or funeral parlours. The number of people allowed to be at the venue has to be capped to a maximum of 10 people. The headcount includes family members, relatives and guests, but excludes funeral staff(undertakers and pallbearers) and rites executors(pastors, monks etc.).

What It Means

This is a best-of-both-worlds solution. While Singaporeans are still allowed to grief in the way they are accustomed to, there is a limit to the number of guests they may receive during this period. This limit is meant to reduce the crowding that a typical funeral wake has, and also to ensure that social distancing is observed as some void deck spaces are smaller. We appreciate the measured responses by NEA to allow that which is important to continue, albeit with restrictions, instead of a drastic knee-jerk reaction.

Our Recommendations
The headcount limit means that if there are more than 10 family members(i.e a long lived elder with many descendants or a large family consisting of several siblings), a rotation schedule should be set in place to avoid overcrowding, and so that guest arrival may be staggered.

In line with this, we have also reduced the number of tables and chairs that will be available during the wake, from 10 tables and 100 chairs(all deployed) to 5 tables and 50 chairs (20 deployed, 4 chairs per table, with spares for miscellaneous). Guests are also encouraged to leave contact details on the condolence book provided so that contact tracing can be done should the need arise.

Cremation & Burial

Current Regulations in Place

Just like funeral wakes, there is a limit of 10 people(excluding funeral staff & rites executors) who are able to attend the cremation rites at the respective private or public crematoria. This also applies to burials at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery.

What It Means

Staff at the respective sites will be conducting checks at the entry points of these facilities. Attendees beyond the 10 person cap will be refused entry. Following the extension of the Circuit Breaker, NEA has started to issue passes to attendees, and members without passes are refused entry into Mandai Crematorium or Choa Chu Kang Cemetery.

Our Recommendations

Should the family size exceed the headcount of 10 people, we suggest that only the children of the deceased and their respective spouses attend the cremation or burial rites(as well as the spouse of the deceased, if they wish to attend). We have livestream services available, and are able to arrange the service for those who would wish to watch the cremation rites remotely.

Columbaria & Cemetery

Current Regulations in Place

Collection of ashes, like the others, are limited to 10 people.

All NEA columbaria and cemetery are closed. Should your loved one be resting at a privately-owned columbarium, do give them a call to check on the measures they have implemented before heading down(to meet entry expectations and avoid making a wasted trip)

What It Means & Our Recommendations

Columbaria and cemeteries are large public spaces, and it is difficult to track each and every person that enters or exits. Whether or not there is a pressing need to visit the columbaria, we suggest not to visit until further updates by NEA that it is safe to do so, or till after June 1. Even after the circuit breaker has ended, do exercise caution especially during times when it may get crowded.