Families and relatives are still being denied the chance to “take a cord” at a loved one's funeral, an MSP has said.

The time-honoured practice, which involves helping lay the coffin into the grave, is currently restricted under Covid guidelines. 

Finlay Carson, MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries, said that many are being left distraught and totally devastated by the restrictions, while it was ok to go to a pub or congregate in a fanzone to watch the Euros. 

He has now lodged a parliamentary question asking ministers to review and change the regulations as a matter of urgency.

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He said: “My father was buried in October and given the Covid situation at the time my family sadly accepted the reason for the strict rules around funerals and burials.

“Last week one of my constituents lost his mother and has been told that despite all the close family being double vaccinated and wearing masks, and also being outdoors, they cannot take a cord at her funeral.”


The Scottish Conservative MSP has questioned the logic surrounding the present ban especially as it only involves a handful of people at a time.

He added: “Given that pubs can operate with only one metre social distancing indoors and there are also plans for thousands to be able to congregate in a fanzone and watch football while being able to drink alcohol, the ban on taking a cord is just totally illogical.

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“I have now asked the First Minister to review and change these regulations which, in a constituency like mine that is now in tier one, to the vast majority it appears both ludicrous and inhumane.”   

 A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We understand how difficult ongoing restrictions at funeral services are for those who are bereaved and wish to pay their final respects to a loved one. 

"We continue to review funeral restrictions on a regular basis in line with the stage of the pandemic, public health risks, and the impact on bereaved families.

 “Our guidance sets out that funeral directors can, on a case by case basis, undertake a risk assessment to assess whether the family can have a role in taking a cord at the graveside, given physical distancing requirements.  

"The options should be discussed with the relatives beforehand and decisions should be made with compassion, as well as understanding of the risks.”

 “The conclusion of the physical distancing review is expected shortly, which will consider the implications of 2 metre physical distancing at funerals.”