Guidance at Alert Level 2 for deaths, funerals and tangihanga

Alert Level 2 guidelines for funeral directors and health practitioners on deaths, funerals and tangihanga.

Last updated: 23 September 2020

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What happens at Alert Level 2

  • Gatherings of up to 100 people (indoors or outdoors) for funerals and tangihanga are permitted.
  • Infection control measures must be in place during the funeral or tangihanga to protect people from COVID-19.
  • Systems and processes must in place at all funerals and tangihanga to support contact tracing should it be needed. Businesses or services, such as funeral directors must display an official NZ COVID Tracer QR code.
  • Funeral directors are also required to keep a register of all persons entering the funeral home for the purposes of any viewing or religious/cultural rituals which take place. This register should include:
    • exact day and time the viewing took place
    • full names of all those viewing
    • the viewer’s current physical address, email address, and mobile phone number.
  • The duration of indoor gatherings should be minimised – less than two hours is recommended.
  • If a viewing of the deceased person or tūpāpaku is being held in a private dwelling, marae, church, community hall, mosque or the like, there can be multiple viewings for groups of up to 100 people at any one time.
  • These limits exclude workers such as kaikōrero, kaikaranga, members of the clergy and the funeral director.
  • Each group will be considered as ‘one cohort’.
  • A defined space is an indoor or outdoor space with walls or partitions (whether permanent or temporary) that substantially divide that space from other spaces, or an outdoor space where there is more than two metres between all members or separate groups.

Travel for funerals or tangihanga 

Travel between regions at Alert Level 2 is permitted, including the transport of deceased persons. You do not need to apply for an exemption to travel. 

For more information about travel exemptions see Guidance at all Alert Levels - Travel between regions.

Registered funeral directors should handle deceased persons

A registered funeral director should be engaged to carry out the functions of care and preparation of the deceased and can assist with transportation, burial or cremation and service arrangements of a deceased person. Funeral directors are encouraged to return to normal practice where possible, as long as the public health guidelines are followed.

Funeral directors are encouraged to provide opportunities for family, whānau and friends to go to the funeral home to view the body or undertake religious/cultural rituals.

The deceased may be transported from the funeral home for viewing purposes at a private residence, church, mosque, hall, marae or other venue.

Funeral homes and other venues where funeral and tangihanga services are held must have a health and safety plan. This plan should be updated to incorporate the guidelines for each Alert Level. It should be shared with family and whānau who engage the services of a funeral director so they are aware of any restrictions and/or requirements in relation to the service. The health and safety plan should be displayed so it can be easily viewed by all.

Infection prevention and physical distancing

Personal hygiene and infection prevention are important in stopping the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Funeral directors and any other owners of venues where funeral and tangihanga services are held, should make provision for personal hygiene, such as having hand sanitiser available. People should use this when entering the funeral home premises and/or any other premises the funeral director is using in the provision of their services.

Frequently touched surfaces and objects on the premises should be sanitised after each viewing, religious/cultural ritual, service or event has taken place. All hygiene practices should be followed such as handwashing and thorough cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects before and after a service or tangihanga.

Funeral directors must ensure they can maintain physical distancing at the venue. Records should also be kept to assist with contact tracing, and different groups should not mingle with each other.

People who are sick with cold or flu-like symptoms should not attend funerals or tangihanga, a viewing, religious/cultural ritual, service or burial.

When making funeral arrangements with family and whānau, funeral directors should do the following.

  • Continue to make arrangements via telephone, video conferencing or other forms of electronic communication, where possible.
  • Where arrangements need to be made face to face, these should ideally take place in the funeral home.
  • Where face-to-face meetings take place, personal hygiene processes should be followed.

If family or whānau wish to hold a viewing, religious/cultural ritual or service for the deceased at another venue such as a marae, church, community hall, mosque or the like, responsibility for maintaining health guidelines lies with the owners or operators of those facilities.

Contact tracing funeral attendees

Funeral directors are responsible to have systems and processes in place to enable contact tracing. They must also display an official NZ COVID-19 Tracer App QR code. 

Contact tracing is an important element of our response to COVID-19. As well as displaying a QR code, you must have a contact tracing register to record the details of all persons attending any part of the funeral process. This register should include:

  • exact day and time the event took place
  • full names of all attending the event
  • one method of contact (eg, email address or mobile phone number).

If funeral directors or venue owners keep contact tracing records, they should be kept secure for two months and once they are two months old, they should be destroyed. The information in the register must only be used for the purpose of contact tracing and only shared with the Ministry of Health or district health boards, should this be required. Attendees should not have access to anyone else’s personal information.

Read more information about getting your official QR code.


Information for families and whānau at Alert Level 2

Information for funeral directors at Alert Level 2

FAQs for funeral directors at Alert Level 2

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