As the death toll of COVID-19 grows, the question remains as to the best way to plan funerals and pay respects during this unprecedented time. So far, an estimated 102,000 people have died in this country due to the coronavirus and the number continues to rise. With social distancing and stay-at-home orders in many regions, how do loved ones honor their loved ones that have died in a respectful and safe way? Some funeral homes and directors offer the following suggestions.
Set Some Guidelines
It makes sense to set some guidelines ahead of time regarding the services and protocol, but what is the best way to convey this information? Outline what is going to occur in the obituary, since this is most people's notice of the death and arrangements; share the obituary on social media to further reach friends and family. This removes ambiguity and awkwardness at the service, itself, such as if you are choosing a non-contact event or requesting that attendees wear face masks.
Encourage Remote Attendance
Speaking of non-contact events, consider encouraging remote attendance; your funeral director can facilitate remote funeral services to cut down on the spread of germs. Many funeral homes are turning to remote attendance even prior to the pandemic highlighting the health risks of large public gatherings.
Opt for Outdoor Services
It is easier to maintain social distancing when you opt for outdoor services. Consider skipping the traditional funeral and having a graveside memorial that allows attendees to stay six feet apart from one another, while also keeping it relatively brief.
Wait a While
Another option that you have is to be patient and wait. As someone once said, "this too shall pass" and it will; you can always plan to have the funeral, service, and interment later, when it is safe to publicly gather. Announce the delay in plans in the deceased's obituary to clarify for those that may want to attend.
Do Something Different
Perhaps it makes more sense to entirely skip the funeral and memorialize the deceased in other ways. Consider venues like an online memorial page, private service, or a donation to a charitable cause, instead of running the risk of a public event and conventional funeral. Talk to your funeral director to discuss your other options.
While a remote funeral or online memorial may not replace the send-off that you have envisioned, it can help honor the life of a loved one during this difficult time. Consider these funeral alternatives when traditional services present potential health risks in an effort to protect those you know and love.
For more information, contact a local funeral home like Danks-Hinski Funeral Home.