COVID-19 has changed the way Yukoners live and work. This includes how we grieve lost loved ones and hold funeral services.
These guidelines will help ensure we keep people, families and communities safe. Follow these guidelines and the Safe 6 + 1 when planning or attending a funeral service or celebration of life.
The Yukon First Nations Information Hub developed a document for planning funeral services in your community. For information refer to COVID-19 in First Nations Communities: Funeral Services.
How to hold a safe funeral service
- Indoor and outdoor funeral services must be limited to 200 people with 2-metre (6-feet) physical distancing.
- Masks must be worn in indoor public spaces.
- Consider holding a service outdoors ‒ physical distancing is easier if there's more space.
- Consider streaming the funeral online.
- You can also record the service so that those who will not attend in person may watch it later.
- For health and safety reasons, communal food and drink must not be served.
- Physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) must be kept between people who are not in the same social bubble.
- No handshaking, hugging, touching or passing of objects between people who are not in the same social bubble.
- There should be a distance of 2 metres (feet) between pallbearers moving the casket. If this is not possible, they must wear masks.
- If possible, consider reducing the number of pallbearers to 4 people.
- Consider a ceremony at the graveside. This way the funeral home will move the casket for you and you will not need pallbearers.
- If the deceased had COVID-19, family and friends should not kiss or touch the body.
- If anyone touches the body, make sure they wash their hands afterwards.
- Stay home if you’re sick, even if your symptoms are mild.
- If you’re self-isolating, you cannot attend a funeral service in person.
- The only way you can attend a funeral in person if you’re self-isolating is if you have an approved alternative self-isolation plan.
- You have to wear a mask if you’re attending an indoor funeral service. See wearing a mask in Yukon during COVID-19 for more information.
- Stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from anyone who’s not a member of your social bubble.
- Practise proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, this includes:
- wash your hands;
- cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue;
- put used tissues into a lined garbage bin and wash your hands afterwards;
- use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content; and
- avoid touching your face.
Cultural or religious considerations
Many religious and ethnic groups have specific customs. Each group differs in how they treat bodies after death and for funerals. We encourage accommodating these needs if they do not affect the safety of the community.
Involve religious and cultural leaders in funeral planning. They’ll ensure that ceremonies are appropriate for cultural and religious groups.
If the deceased had or was suspected to have COVID-19
Sometimes a body may stay in a home immediately after death. If the body is untouched there is no risk of transmission to other people.
The body may need to be moved. This should only happen when funeral service personnel are not available. Direct contact with the body of the deceased should not happen unless necessary.
People must observe a 2-metre (6-feet) distance to witness the preparation of the body.
If the deceased did not have or was not suspected to have COVID-19, these extra precautions are not necessary.
Find more information on COVID-19. If you have non-medical questions, phone the COVID-19 toll-free InfoLine 1-877-374-0425 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., 7 days a week.