Funerals streamed live amid virus limits

Funerals are being streamed live as COVID-19 restrictions limit the number allowed to attend.
Funerals are being streamed live as COVID-19 restrictions limit the number allowed to attend.

Queensland funeral businesses are offering free live streaming to overcome social distancing restrictions and closed borders.

Regulations brought in to avoid the spread of coronavirus have severely reduced the number of mourners able to attend services.

The demand for live streaming has skyrocketed since the federal government restricted indoor gatherings to 100 people, although the limit can only be reached if there is at least four square metres of floor space per person.

There are also heavy restrictions on mourners travelling from interstate with Queensland closing its borders at midnight on Wednesday, said Alex Gow Funerals director Brett Gow.

Alex Gow has been in business for 180 years and Mr Gow said their chapel services were restricted to about two dozen mourners.

Pews have been rearranged 1.5m apart with only two people per pew who had to sit at opposite ends.

"Most families have just reduced the size of the funerals and have a private service," Mr Gow told AAP.

"The average size of a funeral is about 40 to 50 people so it's halved, but we have live streaming, so to have the ability to push it out on the internet makes it available for those that can't attend and that includes interstate visitors now the borders are about to close."

He said there was also a reluctance for big funerals because of the dangers COVID-19 presents to the aged.

"If they have an elderly relative passed away, say dad, they don't want mum to be around a lot of people, so streaming works for those people as well," he said.

White Lady Funerals used to have live streaming as an added extra for its services until the social distancing measures were made mandatory by the Morrison government.

Invocare representative Helen McCombie said many of their chapels were equipped with live streaming facilities and they were now included with White Lady Funerals services while the restrictions are in place.

"Only so many people can be accommodated in each chapel ... and many of chapels are equipped with it, so its become more critical now there are restrictions on gatherings," Ms McCombie said.

Australian Associated Press