In many places, large gatherings are still prohibited due to COVID-19. Many common activities have been canceled or put on hold due to these restrictions, including funeral services. However, funeral services can be an important part of the grieving process. If a loved one has passed away and you're hoping to hold a funeral service, these modifications can make your goal a reality:
1. Make the funeral a private affair.
Large gatherings have the potential to be super-spreader events, so it's best to keep your funeral attendance low. You can accomplish this by making the funeral service a private event, accessible by invitation only. Create a guest list comprised of individuals who were very close to the deceased person. A small, private funeral can be a lovely way of honoring a loved one who has passed away. Most people will understand the necessity of limiting funeral attendance, especially in places where gatherings of more than ten people are legally prohibited.
2. Skip the refreshments.
It's traditional for refreshments to be provided at funeral services, whether those refreshments are coffee and pastries or a full lunch. However, eating in public may constitute a greater risk of spreading COVID-19, since people must remove their masks to eat or drink. For a safer funeral service, skip the refreshment portion of the event. People can still offer their condolences and mingle without eating or drinking. If you must provide refreshments, make sure that people replace their masks immediately after finishing their food and drink.
3. Hold the funeral service at the gravesite.
It's not uncommon for people to hold funeral services at a chapel or mortuary before adjourning to the actual burial site. However, indoor gatherings are riskier than outdoor gatherings when it comes to potential virus transmission. For a safer funeral service, consider having the ceremony at the gravesite. Outdoor funeral services can be dignified and moving. They also require less traveling for funeral attendees.
4. Have a completely digital funeral service.
You can also take advantage of technology to hold a funeral service during the pandemic. If the restrictions on gatherings are particularly stringent in your state or you feel uncomfortable with the idea of gathering, a digital funeral service can be a good alternative. Funeral services can be streamed live over the internet using a recording device. This option will let your entire family be present, which can allow people to say goodbye without putting themselves in danger.