How Your Funeral Home Can Stay Safe During COVID-19

by Ann Heinz, JD, CDEI | Apr 21, 2020

Your Guide For Holding Funerals and Memorials

Funeral Homes COVID-19 Due to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders, many states have seen a vast reduction in mass gatherings. For the funeral industry, that means changing how funerals, visitations, and memorials are structured. WebCE has summarized the recommendations from the National Funeral Directors Association to guide you through this unprecedented time.

How Can My Funeral Home Hold A Funeral?

The CDC recommends all individuals practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings of people in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Enforcement of social distancing depends on your state, city , and county. With restrictions and bans on mass gatherings, you have options you can offer to families:

  • Hold a virtual funeral or memorial using a video communications service
  • Record the service and distribute to family and friends
  • The immediate family holds a service now and plans for a memorial gathering at a later date
  • Postpone the service until restrictions are lifted
  • If the family chooses immediate disposition, hold a memorial event when restrictions are lifted

If your funeral home chooses to hold a virtual funeral you can post to Facebook or YouTube and you will need to obtain a license that allows the use of ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC music. You can purchase and learn more about a NFDA funeral webcasting license on the NFDA website

What About Services With An Unembalmed Body?

Some families choose to hold a service or life celebration with an unembalmed body. It is important to note the CDC guidance states, “There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19.” In the event of a green burial, the CDC also states, “Decedents with COVID-19 may be buried or cremated according to the family’s preferences.”

How Can My Funeral Home Ensure The Safety Of Those Who Visit?

It’s important to assemble a transparency strategy to communicate with the public what steps you are taking to protect families and what services you provide during this time. First, you will need to decide what services you will be offering in accordance with CDC and state and city guidelines. You should decide if your funeral home is offering video services, recording services, or physical limited gathering services. The NFDA has put together a “Communicating With The Public Toolkit” for funeral homes to use in communicating these changes.

You can ensure the safety of your visitors by taking CDC recommended precautions. These include:

  • Cleaning frequently used surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, etc.
  • Scaling back on direct contact with families and guests (handshakes, hugs, etc.)
  • Keeping the door open to prevent touching doorknobs
  • Offering free or reduced cost webcasting
  • Limiting large gatherings of people
  • Educating staff on cleaning activities and best practices
  • Using masks, gloves, and hand-washing

The safety of yourself, guests, employees, and clients is of the utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. By continuing to communicate with the public about the steps you’re taking to ensure the safety of all parties during this unprecedented time, your funeral home can continue to provide exceptional service to those who seek help memorializing their loved ones. For more Coronavirus guidance, you can visit nfda.org and cdc.gov.

WebCE continues to offer funeral continuing education for funeral directions, cremationists, and embalmers. Our courses are designed to guide you through many different topics including ethics, laws and regulations, and specialized funeral services. For more information on how to stay educated with important funeral topics, visit our catalog at www.webce.com or call us at 877.488.9308.

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