Options to Consider for Funeral During Pandemic

by Taylor Evans March 11, 2022 4 min read

The pandemic shows how quickly a traditional funeral service can change. While many people attended funeral services, massive restrictions changed how some people wanted to say goodbye to their loved ones.

We're going to be discussing the changes that occurred in the United States and why many people are choosing cremation for their loved ones.

Pandemic Funeral Options to Consider

The pandemic changed a lot in the world of funerals. While restrictions are loosening, some of the changes to funerals may change forever. We may see virtual services become more popular for families out of state, or we may see more families choosing smaller, intimate funerals.

A few of the funeral options that we've seen take center stage during the pandemic are:

  1. Opting for a private, small viewing. These are good options when only a small number of friends or family attend the viewing.
  2. Private services and public memorials later in the future. Many people choose this option even if they bury their loved one or have their ashes in a heart shaped urn.
  3. Webcast the funeral if the viewing is small and not many people can attend.

You can also sit down with the funeral director and ask if they have any other options available that you haven't considered. Two options that are very popular due to the pandemic are:

Vehicle Processions

A vehicle procession is quite common and something that has been popular for decades. Often, a procession passes the person's home one last time. However, there has been a growing trend of viewing the person's remains from a car.

Often, the casket is placed near the funeral home's entryway doors, and a procession line of vehicles will proceed for people to pay their respects.

However, this option is entirely dependent on the funeral home. Some funeral homes are not equipped to handle a vehicle procession.

Virtual Services

One major trend that we believe is likely to remain well after the pandemic is the introduction of virtual services. While some people cannot attend a service physically because they're too far away, they can attend a virtual service.

Virtual services are available at select funeral homes and are live-streamed by the funeral home.

Multiple options are available for virtual services, such as:

  • Recording the service so friends and loved ones can watch it
  • Live streaming the service
  • Interactive services via Zoom where people can interact with each other

While virtual services are popular choices and something that people may continue to offer, it is a different experience than being able to sit down and pay your respects to the deceased.

Funeral Directors Must Follow Restriction Requirements

Funeral directors are required to follow restrictions and recommendations put on them by local health authorities. When holding a funeral, it's essential to talk to the director and learn about any requirements you may overlook.

The director will also discuss guideline changes and be the best source of contact for requirements that still need to be followed.

Here are a few of the many guidelines that you may need to follow:

  • Social distancing. Seating changes and social distancing were two of the most common restrictions put in place during funerals. Distance helped ensure that COVID-19 was not allowed to reach others if a person had it. Many people are often reluctant to hug, too. The goal is to protect the safety of everyone that attends. While it's very unfortunate, it's crucial that people follow social distancing guidelines and refrain from physical contact with others at the funeral.
  • Gathering limits. Most places have gathering limits in place, including funeral homes. Large gatherings make it easy to spread viruses to others. Funeral home directors are put in difficult situations during pandemics, which may require them to put a strict limit on the number of people that can gather for the funeral. It's crucial to discuss limits with the director and see if there are any alternative options that will allow everyone to say their final respects responsibly.

For quite some time, families also had to ask for the person's personal effects to be disinfected before being returned. Since it's believed that the virus can reside on surfaces and be transmitted in this manner, disinfection is essential.

With that said, over time, these requirements began to ease because transmission via surfaces was much lower than expected.

Finally, guests must take it upon themselves to refrain from attending a funeral if they don't feel well or believe that they've come in contact with someone that has or has been exposed to the coronavirus.

Families may take it upon themselves to require guests to take a test to confirm that they're negative for the virus before attending the funeral. It's up to families to decide how they'll enforce these rules, but it is a consideration for older attendees that are at greater risk of complications or death from the coronavirus.

If older friends and family must attend the funeral or memorial service, it may be worth them arriving early and leaving early to avoid as much contact with others as possible.

Cremation Helps Celebrate Loved Ones How You Want

From custom engraved metal cremation urns to wooden urns for ashes, many families are choosing cremation for their loved ones. While restrictions on large gatherings and funerals were in place during the worst of the pandemic, crematories were still operating.

A few of the many reasons people are moving towards cremation over funerals are:

  • You can carry a piece of your loved one with you with cremation jewelry.
  • Custom engraved urns allow you to pay a personalized tribute to your loved one’s memory.
  • Cremations costs are usually one-third the cost of a funeral.

Many people chose to have cremations during the pandemic because families could send their loved ones off together. Additionally, brass and metal urns can hold remains for a lifetime, which allowed many families to have a ceremony for their loved ones when restrictions loosened.

Funeral options during the pandemic definitely changed the traditional view of a funeral, but it's still possible to find normalcy if you work closely with the funeral director.

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