HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Families burying their loved ones will have to make some pretty tough decisions.
Funeral homes are following mandates to limit the number the of people attending funeral services.
“The national cemeteries are at a place now where the hearse and the deceased are able to go to the cemetery,” said Serenity Funeral Home Operations Director Korie Anderson. “No family is allowed to go.”
The impact trickles down to local funeral homes like Serenity Funeral Home in Huntsville. “We have to make sure we’re doing our very best to take care of our families,” said Anderson.
Anderson said all gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer.
“You got the COVID-19, got grieving families, and then we have the mandates that we have to follow,” said Anderson. “We’ve had one to two services since we received the mandate.”
The state-ordered social distancing is one of them. Funeral homes are also limiting transportation services or allowing fewer people to sit in them at one time.
“We are allowing six family members – we usually allow 7 – but we’re allowing six family members to ride in the limousine without a person riding in the front seat,” said Anderson. Serenity is doing this to protect families and staff members.
“A friend of mine from college, her father passed away a couple weeks ago and they had to cancel his funeral with everything that’s going on,” said second grade teacher Ebonee Patterson.
Even though COVID-19 caused unexpected deaths, other families are still dealing with deaths unrelated to the pandemic.
“I was going to go to the funeral, a college friend, I met my first year at [Alabama A&M University] and I’m just pretty sad about that,” said Patterson.
Funeral homes across Alabama are taking extra precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“I have some colleagues that are down in the Jefferson County area that have cut out limousine services, period,” said Anderson. Jefferson County has led the state in number of confirmed cases. It was a hard decision to make, he said.
Remember that funeral homes are still open, but these establishments need to follow health guidelines too — just like everyone else.