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Funeral Homes Seek Ways To Lower Risk While Operating During Pandemic

Gov. Mike DeWine has not halted funeral proceedings due to the pandemic. But he and other state officials continue to emphasize the need for caution and safety to prevent the virus’s spread. [Travel man / Shutterstock]
woman with her back to the camera holding a black umbrella and looking out across a large cemetery

Funeral homes are still operating during the coronavirus pandemic, and many are implementing new policies to keep both clients and staff safe.

Families are choosing to hold smaller gatherings during the pandemic, according to Cheryl Grossman, executive director of the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Homes. Some funeral homes are also offering ceremony alternatives like online streaming to keep the number of in-person attendees down, she said.

“Funeral directors are a very unique group of individuals. They’re very caring, if you think about the business that they’re in,” Grossman said. “They’re trying to do everything they can proactively, not only on behalf of the families, but also on behalf of their staff.”

Gov. Mike DeWine has not halted funeral proceedings due to the pandemic. But he and other state officials continue to emphasize the need for caution and safety to prevent the virus’s spread.

“I can tell you, we were contacted by a friend of mine who had somebody in the family who died. They were talking about, how do we deal with this? They came to the conclusion that they would have their own service, but they would postpone the public service until later," the governor said at his March 17 daily coronavirus update.

Funeral homes are also working to reduce the number of staff onsite, Grossman said, splitting staff into two groups and alternating each week to ensure work can get done while lowering risk.

“People for the most part are being very considerate and very level-headed to deal with the times that we’re in,” Grossman said. “I don’t see the activities for funeral directors going down by any means.”