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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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