When a loved one dies, it’s natural to want to honor that person’s life with a gathering of friends and family. A funeral or memorial tribute provides family members and friends an environment to offer comfort, support to one another and share their thoughts and feelings about the life of the deceased. Therefore, learning that you’re unable to have the type of gathering you would like to have because of the COVID-19 pandemic can be disappointing and even devastating news.
The importance of having a funeral to honor the deceased and giving loved ones an opportunity to celebrate that life and begin to grieve is unquestioned. Your funeral director is committed to providing you with the opportunity to say goodbye to your loved one and give other family members and friends the opportunity to do the same - even during these challenging times.
The unprecedented novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, however, requires funeral professionals to balance their long-held values with the need to: flatten the curve of the pandemic; protect the health of attendees, funeral home staff and clergy/celebrant; and reduce the potential for community spread and mass-fatalities.
Therefore, if you are planning a funeral during the current health crisis, regardless of the cause of death, your funeral director will likely be following the current guidance from the National Funeral Directors Association, the world’s largest funeral service association for funeral service professionals. These recommendations include:
- Funerals should be limited to no more than 10 of the decedent’s next-of-kin (unless a state’s guidelines are more restrictive); this does not include funeral home staff, the clergy/celebrant or cemetery staff.
Your funeral director recognizes this limit is very difficult for families who are grieving the death of a loved one but asks for your understanding during this challenging time. Funeral directors will continue to do all they can to help families understand the options they have for commemorating the life of a loved one in a manner that is safe for everyone involved.
- Services should be held at the gravesite whenever possible; however, the nature of the disposition, such as cremation, may mean a service in the funeral home is more appropriate.
- Social distancing guidelines apply, whether in the funeral home or graveside. Seating will be arranged to support current social distancing guidelines.
Guidance from the CDC
For additional guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, read Funeral Guidance for Individuals and Families.