Funeral Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s no shocker that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many areas of life and business, including the funeral industry. When a loved one dies, many families have an in-person viewing of the body because it helps the mourning friends (and family) recognize their loss and see the special person and bid farewell. However, in these uncertain times, social distancing requirements have changed the game. We’ll discuss your funeral options during the virus outbreak, including a viewing by vehicle processional.

Options Listed

Option 1) Host a private viewing for just immediate family and/or close friends.

Option 2) Have a private service and schedule a public memorial for a later time. If you go this route, talk to your funeral director about your casket burial options or cremation options.  

Option 3) Have a private viewing for just immediate family and/or close friends and have a memorial service in the future. 

Option 4) Ask your funeral director if they can webcast the funeral so loved ones can tune in from home.

If you can have a funeral, even if it’s a small one, your funeral director will be required to follow specific government instructions for the capacity allowed and social distancing. If not everyone can make it, either due to traveling conflicts or COVID-19 complications, a virtual-only gathering (through the internet/technology) may be the preferred option.

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Probable Guidelines

The attendance restrictions may be hard to accept. However, your funeral director will work hard to ensure everyone’s safety while still giving friends and family a chance to say goodbye. Here are some probable guidelines:

Social Distancing

Social distancing policies apply, no matter the setting. Seating for a service will be modified accordingly, so guests are approximately 6 feet apart. Guests will likely avoid hugging each other or the deceased person’s family. You might see guests bring flowers to express their condolences — rather than through physical interaction.     

Gathering Limits

As mentioned, there are restrictions on how many people can gather for an event based on local, state, and/or federal regulations. Your funeral director might need to limit the number of guests who are present at one time. He or she will do their best to let everyone have the opportunity to pay tribute to the deceased. However, it will require guests to be patient. Ask your funeral director about the specific gathering restrictions in your area.        

For more information, you can read the CDC’s Funeral Guidance for Individuals and Families.

Viewing by Vehicle Processional

Some funeral homes are presenting another option: a viewing by vehicle processional. During this procession, guests stay in their cars and form a line through the funeral home’s parking lot. The casket is put in a spot (likely right inside the home’s front doors) where the grievers can see it and pay their respects, and they move through the line in their cars.   

Not all funeral homes will provide this service, but it’s worth it to ask. You may find one that offers it as a year-round alternative to a traditional visitation.   

A Word About Financial Arrangements

The pandemic has also caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, making it quite stressful to plan things like funeral arrangements. So, it’s essential to be honest about your budget when discussing options with the funeral director. The more open you are, the easier it will be for your director to work with you and your finances to arrange a special tribute within the above guidelines.  

While you plan for funeral arrangements for yourself or a loved one, consider buying final expense insurance to help cover end-of-life costs. 

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Final Expense Direct has been helping families since 1984. We can provide a final expense insurance policy to you directly over the phone. Call 1 (877) 674-0236 to speak with an agent!