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Long Lines on Hold, Loved Ones Stay in Cars at Burial: Funeral Homes Make Dramatic Changes

04-13-2020
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Families mourning the loss of a loved one will need to change how they honor that person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funeral services are now much different due to the changes in American daily life. 

For now, the sight of long lines filing past a casket to pay respects is on hold. Funeral homes must adhere to new guidelines.
             
It's a big change for Mike Strickland, general manager of Family Choice Funerals & Cremations. 

"We are going to follow all the necessary guidelines, of course, limiting 10 people or less to the services," he told CBN News. "We are using all of our personal protective equipment."

"So we just want people to use common sense, and that's what we're doing," Strickland continued. "This is an evolving thing – the more we know, the better we are, but six feet away, 10 people or less; we're just using common sense."

Right as you enter the funeral home, you encounter what Strickland calls the "sanitation station". There are masks, gowns, tissues, gloves, wipes and hand sanitizers.

"We want to keep everybody safe, and we want to be safe as well," he said. "And we tell families, 'If you're sick, stay home; we can email you everything.'"

Strickland's staff is working with one family whose deceased loved one suffered from the coronavirus.

"That is concerning to me and to the staff. So when we call the hospital, the place of passing, we always ask," he explained. 

"And if the person does have it or has been exposed to it, we gown up, put gloves on, face mask, and that family that we have served, we have emailed," Strickland continued.

He tells CBN News he's using technology to work with the family remotely.

"Families are understanding, so if we have to do everything through the email or Facebook Live or something like that, people are understanding," he said.

Strickland explains how they now handle graveside services by sharing a recent example.

"...the family was able to follow us to the gravesite, but they had to stay in their car, and they saw us go ahead and bring their loved one out of the hearse, and place it at the gravesite," he explained.

Strickland calls this current season, "unchartered water", and he's taking it day by day.

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