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Planinng a Funeral during COVID-19

Planning a Funeral during COVID-19

Planning a funeral is a difficult process at any time. Funeral planning during a pandemic creates new challenges.

By Joan McAulay
May 14, 2020

If you need to plan a funeral during a pandemic, you will face some hurdles, but they are not insurmountable. We reached out to Jerry Roberts, Vice President at Arbor Memorial, so we could provide you some guidance.

Planning
The COVID-19 pandemic does not need to delay funeral planning. You can make appointments with funeral homes over the phone or via Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams. There are also online resources that can be reviewed for direction.

In-person meetings may take place as well but should be limited to two people; additional family members can join online or over the phone. Appropriate screening measures and physical distancing should be expected and respected. Be assured you will receive the same level of compassionate guidance from the funeral home’s professional staff.

Arbor Memorial, for instance, has an online booking tool that allows you to choose the date and time of your appointment. A staff member will follow up to confirm the booking and how you prefer to meet. Appointments can be made up to 14 days in advance.

Safety Protocols
Funeral homes are sanitized and cleaned regularly throughout the day since ensuring the health and safety of guests and employees is important. If you meet with a funeral director in person, maintain physical distance and expect you may find employees are wearing personal protection equipment such as gloves and masks.

Services
Funeral and life celebrations must limit the number of people in attendance, as determined by the local province and regulatory body. In most cases, the limit is no more than 10 people (not including funeral home staff or clergy). Many families will hold a service with immediate family only and livestream the service to others.

When it is once again safe to gather, you may plan a larger event such as a memorial celebration that includes a reception, a celebration of life, or a simple visitation.

Restrictions
No one under quarantine will be permitted to attend services and it is requested that obituaries include a request for anyone who is unwell to not attend the funeral. Social distance is encouraged for chapel seating, and although difficult, families are requested to not physically interact with others attending through hugs or handshakes. Screening measures will be in place before entering the building.

Mausoleums and indoor niches may be closed to casual visitation but cemeteries remain open to families wishing to visit a loved one’s burial plot. For interments and crypt entombments, casketed remains may be placed on a cemetery device or carriage, committal prayers, if requested, will be completed, and thereafter patrons may be asked to leave to allow employees to complete the interment or burial.

Cremation interments and niche interments may be permitted on a scheduled basis, and should follow the regulations set forth by the local province and regulatory body.

Resources
Arbor Memorial has compiled an array of materials to assist people who are grieving. These can be found at arbormemorial.ca/en/blog or by contacting an Arbor funeral home and speaking to one of their professionals.

Concentra Trust, a national trust company, has been serving clients, corporations and communities for more than 65 years with tailored estate and trust solutions designed to preserve and transition wealth to future generations. We are well versed in navigating the intricacies of estate planning and administration and our experts have the skill to support all aspects of the process. Given our passion for trust governance, our unbiased advice and guidance, and our inclusive leadership culture and co-operative values, we provide exceptional client service.

For more information, contact:
1.800.788.6311 | executorease@concentra.ca

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