MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent orders to limit gatherings are having profound effects across daily life, including the moments when gathering to say goodbye to a loved one at the end of life.
So how do you plan for a funeral or celebration of life, a time when loved ones are supposed to come together, when it’s clear everyone should now practice social distancing and avoid groups?
The Alabama Funeral Directors Association and the Alabama Department of Public Health are offering some guidance, as every funeral home is now complying with the state’s health order to limit the pandemic’s spread.
Each funeral home establishment will follow these steps as they work with you to plan a funeral:
- Funeral homes will limit the number of family members participating in arrangement conferences, so teleconferencing options are strongly encouraged and will be arranged by the funeral home, if possible. If an in-person arrangement is needed, social distancing of 6 feet will be required.
- Funeral homes will limit gatherings 10 people and will help families plan small graveside, chapel, church, and visitation services to meet that limit. After the state’s health order is lifted, there are opportunities to have larger memorial services.
- Funeral homes will work with families that have difficulties postponing larger memorials, with livestreaming options being an option.
- Funeral homes will make sure that any arrangements made with families will including the social distancing practices.
- Funeral homes will encourage any family members with weakened immune systems or chronic health issues to stay home. Those family members who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who show signs of active illness, such as fever or cough, will not be admitted to the funeral services.