Funerals During A Pandemic

The threat of more cases and deaths from the Coronavirus is still weighing heavily across the country in every industry.  Churches or places of worship with large congregations will have varying comfort levels and different beliefs on where they are at in regard to the coronavirus and reopening.  Trying to make everyone feel safe and comfortable is almost impossible. Most are hopeful in-person services will happen more often again but they will be transformed to the “New Normal”.  Businesses including our funeral homes need to have heightened safeguards in place for their attendees to feel safe to bring their families to mourn. 

Alternatives Gatherings May Meet Standards of Compliance

Some establishments have chosen to stream their services live so the at risk population would be able to be a part of the services from home.  Burials, memorial services and other religious gatherings outdoors pose a lesser threat to the spread of the virus than indoor rituals.  Guests can spread out more and comply with social distancing recommendations thus remaining in compliance with the new health protocols in place.  The only kicker is weather can play a huge part to damper activities outdoors.

Governor Abbott’s Open Texas Checklists outlines the minimum standard health protocols for places of worship and bereavement.  The list of added responsibilities could be too daunting for some undertakers to handle on their own.  These businesses must screen staff and guests for the symptoms of the coronavirus, be sure staff are consistently hand washing, have disinfecting stations added on premise, perform additional, frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high touch areas.  And the hardest of all to be sure all are maintaining social distancing by 6 feet for more.  Seating may need to be blocked off or moved not to mention sanitized between human contact.  The wearing of non-medical grade face masks should also be considered for compliance.

Like most buildings, funeral homes and worship centers have many surfaces that are regularly touched.  Such items include railings, doorknobs, tables, chairs, elevator buttons and restrooms.  Maintaining a frequent sanitation schedule for these materials adds quite a lot of labor time for business owners.  If any meals are provided for employees, volunteers or attendees, it is recommended to have the meals individually packed for each.

Committing to Compliance In Dallas 

The CDC’s recommendations for social distancing and rigorous cleanings and sanitizing could be very laborious on days with several funerals with large attendance. Some funeral homes or places of worship may not have adequate staff or volunteers to re-arrange seating in their space and perform the frequent, rigorous cleanings of so many high-touch surfaces.  Doing so in-between services could be very daunting.  These organizations may need to seek affordable staff to assist in moving seating and for sanitizing solutions above the normal weekly deep cleaning performed by their janitorial service.