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Visitations and Funerals
At this time, 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.” However, the CDC also notes, “People should consider not touching the body of someone who has died of COVID-19.” Therefore, you can make this recommendation to the families you serve.
On March 15, the CDC issued new guidance for mass gatherings recommending that for the next eight weeks (until May 10), organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
The CDC suggested during the live Facebook event with the CDC on March 16 that funerals can still take place under the 50-person limit. For funerals taking place, they suggested limiting attendance to select family and livestreaming the service for those who cannot attend; services could also be recorded and the video shared with whomever the family deems appropriate. They further advised that those who are ill and are at-risk (e.g., elderly, immune-compromised) should be encouraged to stay home. Funeral homes should also urge attendees to follow recommended healthy habits such as social distancing, hand hygiene, covering cough and sneezes, etc.
In a breaking update, the afternoon of March 16, the White House released “The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America - 15 Days to Slow the Spread.” Among these guidelines are that people “Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people” for the next 15 days (until March 31).
It would appear this would impact funerals/viewings in that they would be limited – perhaps to immediate family only – for the next 15 days. Funeral directors could offer livestreaming as an option for these services/viewings and, perhaps, recommend the family hold a larger memorial gathering at a later date. Services could also be recorded and the video shared with whomever the family deems appropriate. After this 15-day period concludes, the restrictions would continue with the CDC's eight week limitations on mass gatherings.
A note about webcasting: The funeral home webcasting licensing agreements that NFDA has with ASCAP, BMI and SESAC allow the broadcasting over the internet of funeral services containing copyrighted music, but only through the websites of the funeral homes holding a webcasting license. Therefore, using Facebook to live stream a funeral service with copyrighted music would not be covered by the webcasting license. All three agreements are very specific in proving that the permissible broadcasts must be over the funeral home’s website(s).
NFDA is reaching out to contacts at ASCAP and BMI to see if there is an alternative to allow funeral homes with the webcasting license to include Facebook and/or YouTube.
NFDA offers sample legal forms that give authorization for funeral homes to webcast funeral services and direction to record funeral services.
Ultimately, funeral homes have to determine how they will best balance the important guidance they are receiving from federal, state and local public health officials with the needs of their families.
As with any gathering or event, you should check with local health officials to determine whether there are any prohibitions on holding public events, such as a visitation or funeral. Some states or cities have begun restricting public gatherings; these restrictions take precedence.
As an extra layer of precaution for those you serve, as well as you and your staff, you may want to consider:
Encourage people who are ill or who are part of an at-risk population (e.g., the elderly, immune-compromised, etc.) to stay home.
Reminding families how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as by staying home if you are sick, social distancing, washing your hands, and covering coughs and sneezes.
The CDC has great informational flyers about healthy habits, such as “How to Stop The Spread of Germs,” you can post in your funeral home.
Keep soap dispensers filled in public (and employee) restrooms. The CDC has several informational flyers on handwashing you can post in public and staff restrooms.
Offer alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to guests (and employees).
Have extra tissues on hand.
As a business open to the public, it’s important that you and your staff be vigilant about cleaning, especially after services or arrangement conferences. The CDC offers guidance for businesses – including recommendations on cleaning products – on cleaning facilities open to the public.
Some funeral homes are taking additional measures such as:
Scaling back direct contact with families and guests (e.g., handshakes, hugs, etc.)
Keeping the front door open (weather permitting) or ensuring a staff person is always available to open a door during visitations and services to prevent people from touching the door knob
Offering free or reduced cost webcasting
You know your business operations best and, with your staff, can develop a plan to action to help families commemorate the life of their loved ones in a safe manner that is consistent with federal, state and local guidance.
Iocovozzi Funeral Homes Locations
We have locations in Frankfort and Herkimer New York, serving families throughout the Herkimer county. We stand behind our reputation and will continue to serve our communities with the values instilled by our funeral directors.
V.J. Iocovozzi Funeral Home, Inc.
203 Second Ave.
Frankfort, NY 13340
Petykiewicz, Iocovozzi & Burns Funeral Home
329 S. Washington St.
Herkimer, NY 13350
Obituaries & Tributes
We encourage you to use our beautifully designed interactive online tributes to pay your respects. Leave a condolence, share a memory, post a photo or light a candle.
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions you may have and provide direction. Please call us directly at the funeral home.
This section contains useful information about the benefits of pre-planning your funeral, pre payment options and our online pre-arrangement form.