Families facing tough decisions while planning a funeral amid COVID-19 concerns

Families can either have a service now with ten people or less, or hold off on a public celebration of life until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Updated: Mar. 28, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -With Governor Ralph Northam banning all public gatherings of more than 10 to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, families across the commonwealth who have lost a loved one during this time have had to make some very difficult decisions.

While families can still come into a funeral home to make arrangements for a loved one who has passed, that is not as recommended.

“We’re really encouraging families to do things online and over the phone just to protect them and protect us," Ashleigh Coffey with Ryan Funeral Home said.

No more than 10 people at a public gathering means funerals, too.

“Most families are understanding of that, and this is an unprecedented situation, but it is difficult for families to have to adjust,"Hill and Wood Vice President Stephen Christianson said.

A potential workaround is to have family members wait in their cars until a funeral home director comes out to the parking lot to give them the OK to enter the service: “Which means we have to have additional staff members to work the parking lot so we can say, ‘OK come in, or it’s you’re turn next,’" Teague Funeral Home Director David Bashline said.

Each funeral home director said they are using personal protective equipment, or PPE, to keep their staff and the families they work with safe.

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