Limits on the number of people who can attend a funeral will be removed as part of Step 3 of the roadmap, to take place from 17 May at the earliest.
Currently only 30 people are able to attend services for their loved ones. But the Prime Minister says the current data supports the dates at which restrictions will next be eased.
The number of people who can attend a funeral will now be determined by how many people the venue, such as the relevant place of worship or funeral home, can safely accommodate with social distancing. This includes both indoor and outdoor venues. Capacities of venues will vary, but many will allow significantly more than 30 people to attend.
Limits for other life or commemorative events at Step 3, such as weddings and wakes, are expected to remain as set out in the roadmap.
Following Step 2 on 12 April, hospital admissions and cases of severe illness are in line with modelling provided by scientific experts, both when the roadmap was first published and ahead of Step 2.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “The British people have made huge sacrifices throughout the pandemic to protect the NHS and save lives, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the deeply painful restrictions on the numbers attending funerals.
“Losing a loved one has been incredibly hard during the pandemic and I am pleased we are now in a position, thanks to everyone’s continued efforts and the rollout of the vaccine, to remove these limits and allow more friends and family to come together and pay their respects.
“I look forward to working with faith leaders responsible for places of worship, and those who manage venues such as funeral homes, to introduce the new arrangements in a way that continues to keep people safe.”
Step 3 is expected to mean most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply but will be kept under review.
Updated advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging, is expected.
Indoor hospitality will reopen although customers will have to order, eat and drink while seated.
Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.
The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
The government will also complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission.
This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will be completed before step 4, expected on June 21 when the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.