Celebrating the life of someone who passed away is even different due to COVID-19

Posted at 5:44 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 21:37:22-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Funeral Homes across the country are making major changes in wake of COVID-19 social distancing concerns. When someone you love passes away, your first instincts are to go to the funeral and give your family a hug. Neither are really possible right now due to COVID-19 and social distancing.

"The family is not having that support during this very difficult time in their life," said Chris Neighbours, Funeral Director at Madison Funeral Home.

That means no hugs, no handshakes, not even casseroles. "The southern hospitality is very difficult to show when you can’t have outside support," said Neighbours. "We have to rethink every aspect of our business."

Neighbours says that includes how they meet with families to arrange services to how guests sign in. "We have an array of pens out there and when someone writes their name we take that pen away and disinfect it and put it back," he said.

But the hardest, according to Neighbours, is limiting memorial service sizes to less than ten. "If they show up with 15, how do you say no we can’t start this service or keep on going with this service unless five of you leave? Who’s going to tell those five people they have to leave?" he asked.

Madison Funeral Home has suggested families set up appointment-style visitations. "You can have certain people come between first hour, second hour, third hour and they swap out at that point," said Neighbours.

Lewis and Wright Funeral Directors has actually turned to the power of social media to ensure as many family and friends can gather to say goodbye. "We have the ability to do a Facebook Live and we’re working on live streaming," said Richard Lewis, Funeral Director at Lewis and Wright Funeral Directors.

Lewis says they have posted signs to remind families these rules are out of their control, but they are focused on what they can do. "Lots of Lysol and many many prayers for our families," said Lewis.

Boyd Funeral Home in Ashland City says anyone who delays a memorial service until after social distancing ends can do so for no extra charge.