Families can now bring bodies home or have them present during send-off ceremonies as well as observe burial rituals.
This comes after the Department of Health backtracked on guidelines set early last year prohibiting any form of contact with those who died of Covid-19.
In a meeting held on Tuesday with those in the funeral business, the department said it was now unnecessary for bodies and coffins to be wrapped in plastic.
The National Funeral Practitioners Association of South Africa (Nafupa SA) informed their members and families that bodies were now allowed to be viewed, as they posed no threat if not touched.
Bodies could go home or to church for service and there was no need for PPE during funeral services or at the graveside as coffins did not pose a risk of transfer of the disease.
Nafupa SA secretary-general, Julie Mbuthuma, said this was a victory as many families would receive the closure they sought and that the burying of wrong bodies would come to an end.
“We believe that our cultural beliefs come first and we are trusting that we have sent out the message as widely as possible and hoping that everybody is aware of the changes.”
Mbuthuma explained that the viewing would only happen in a controlled environment, such as mortuaries and funeral parlours.
She said families were no longer required to use a body bag inside coffins when taking the remains home.
“The body can now be prepared and washed by the family or mortuary staff provided those who are attending to the preparation are in full PPE.
“When it comes to the coffin itself, there is no longer any requirement for the coffin to be wrapped.
“You can use a transparent body bag in the coffin if you would like to or you can use a blanket if it’s customary or a ritual or you can use a shroud.”
She said when carrying the coffin, the only PPE required now were gloves and a mask.