Area funeral homes have been providing memorial services that are modified slightly to comply with guidelines restricting gatherings over 50 people.
Owners and directors also say they have been taking extra precautions by sanitizing commonly touched surfaces, like door knobs, and reminding families to avoid physical contact.
“We’ve been asked to limit it by public health officials to 50 people,” Peter Hansen, owner and funeral director of Erickson-Hansen Funeral Home in New Britain, said of ceremonies and calling hours.
Christopher Duhaime, president and managing partner of Funk Funeral Home in Bristol, said Funk has made a number of precautionary adjustments, including sanitizing surfaces more often and reminding employees to wash their hands more frequently. As always, hand sanitizer is available throughout Funk Funeral Home.
“We are still operating and adjusting the way things are done,” Duhaime said.
Duhaime said funeral directors are leaving it up to the family whether they want to keep the services private, with 50 people or fewer, or allow guests who are waiting in line inside the building as others leave. Families who use Funk can also delay services until a later date when capacity restrictions are eventually lifted.
“We are still able to carry out burials,” Duhaime added. “Whether shaking hands or hugging, we have signs in our home reminding people to refrain from physical contact at this time,” he said.
“We’re working individually with our families,” said Danielle Weyant, general manager of New Britain Memorial & Donald D. Sagarino Funeral Home. “They have been understanding of our restrictions.”
New Britain Memorial has also increased sanitizing efforts and offers guests phone and email options to make arrangements.
Duhaime added that some documents that need to be filed for funerals are able to be completed electronically while the COVID-19 outbreak continues. This helps limit in-person contact.
So far, Duhaime said families that have used Funk Funeral Home have opted to keep services private, as opposed to limiting how many people can enter the building at one time or delaying the services.
“We haven’t experienced that yet,” he said of the latter two options.
One thing Duhaime, Weyant and Hansen stressed is that they are still able to provide services for loved ones who have passed away, with modifications to operate within guidelines that help with the coronavirus outbreak.
“We try to give families the opportunity to grieve and allow friends to pay their respects,” Hansen said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.