Due to the changing conditions from the coronavirus pandemic, funeral directors have been adjusting service options to help families explore funeral alternatives if they are unable to hold a funeral for their loved one, or if attendance is limited to immediate family.
As a funeral director, you can guide families through various options that include,
- Holding a private viewing for only immediate family and/or close friends.
- Holding a private service with a public memorial at a later date. Speak with your families about their options regarding casket burial or cremation (if that’s what they choose).
- Holding a private viewing for only immediate family and/or close friends and have a memorial service at a later date.
- Offer families the ability to webcast the funeral so others can view from home.
If the family decides to have a funeral, even if it’s on a smaller scale, be sure to follow the very specific guidance regarding the number of attendees and social distancing as required by the local, state and/or federal government.
While it may be difficult to work within these limitations, reassure your families that you are working hard to ensure their safety, the safety of any guests and the safety of your funeral home staff while still providing family and friends with the opportunity to say goodbye. These guidelines may include:
Social distancing guidelines apply, regardless of the setting or circumstances. As such, seating for a service will need to be adjusted accordingly so guests are a safe distance from each other.
There are limits for the number of people who may gather for an event, based on local, state and/or federal guidelines. In order to follow these guidelines, you may have to limit the number of guests who are in the funeral home at one time.
Talk to your families about the return of personal effects that may have been on their loved one at the time of death. Depending on the circumstances, they may need to be disinfected before being returned to families.
Viewing by Vehicle Processional (An Alternative to a Traditional In-person Viewing)
For many families, having an in-person viewing of their loved one’s body is an important part of the funeral or service. The viewing helps grieving family and friends acknowledge their loss and gives them the opportunity to see their loved one and say goodbye. During these unprecedented times, however, social distancing requirements prevent families from inviting an unlimited number of guests to attend an in-person visitation. Therefore, some funeral homes are offering families another option for having a viewing that ensures the safety of the family and guests – a viewing by vehicle processional.
During this alternative to a traditional viewing, guests remain in their cars and form a processional through the parking lot of the funeral home. The casket is placed in a location (most likely just inside the front doors of the funeral home) where mourners will be able to see it and pay their respects as they proceed through the processional line in their vehicles. While not all funeral homes are equipped to provide this service, it could be something worth exploring in your own funeral care business to determine if you could offer to families.
Since our inception, Osiris Software has been helping funeral homes, cemetery and crematory businesses prosper through innovative solutions and world class customer service.