As the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is on the rise, the government is taking strict action to deal with the spread of this disease. Not only does this virus cause serious medical complications to those who belong to the vulnerable group, but it also disrupts businesses and traditional practices.
Yes, social distancing is affecting end of life planning
Funeral homes, who already have the training and expertise to prevent the spread of diseases, have to follow additional health and safety measures. As per the directives of the federal and state bodies, it has become mandatory for every individual to practice social distancing.
Every person has to maintain at least six feet apart from other people in the vicinity. As a result, funeral homes have to change the way they provide end of life planning services. At present, not more than 10 people, consisting of close family members of the deceased, can attend the funeral.
Cultural practices and military honors on hold
Another area where social distancing is coming into play when it comes to the end of life planning are the practices followed by different religious cultures. Due to the recent outbreak, funeral homes are asking people to avoid kissing or touching the bodies of the deceased who died from COVID-19.
These agencies are asking individuals to refrain from traditional cultural practices during the pandemic such as large religious ceremonies. At the same time, funerals homes are canceling post-cremation and reception ceremonies.
Some people are delaying the burial services until the government lifts social distancing directives. Pre-planning is also on the rise due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 victims.
The officials of Veterans Affairs (VA) also provided clarity on military funeral honors - “committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors will discontinue until further notice” . As per the latest directive, funeral homes won’t be conducting these services, until they receive additional information from VA. Also, families are opting out of interring the deceased, until the government lifts social distancing orders.
It is difficult in this time of pandemic, but also important that we all follow the directives set in place nationally, and especially locally, so that we all may thwart the spread of this disease.
Thanks for reading,