Funeral homes adjust services based on federal guidelines

Funeral homes working to accommodate large families while still following CDC guidelines

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - At this point, the coronavirus has probably in some way impacted your life. Even those that mourn their loved ones are being forced to change the way they comfort one another. Baton Rouge area funeral directors are working on new ways to accommodate large families.

When someone you know dies, in most cases, you go to the funeral, but that might change in the middle of this pandemic.

“They’re very hesitant and upset about the ruling,” said Bobby Suchman, general manager of Seale Funeral Home. “But as we go through the process, we explain to them we’re still going to try to accommodate and do what we can so that everyone in the family has an opportunity to be there for their loved one as well as for their family.”

Funerals are now limited to no more than ten mourners at a time, following federal guidelines. Seale Funeral Home has also cut out night visitations.

“It really kind of cuts down on the number of folks that are out and about," Suchman said.

With the number of people coming in and out of the building, staff members need time to clean, so visitation has been cut to two hours before the service.

“That allows us to still have two services a day,” Suchman said. “In between those services, we can clean and disinfect the chapel and kind of give each family a fresh start so to speak and try to keep our staff as well as the family safe.”

Seale Funeral Home
Seale Funeral Home (Source: WAFB)

These new rules have forced large families to adapt. To accommodate, Seale started a ten-person rotating visitation so families can come in small groups.

For the people that are not apart of that small group allowed in the services, a live stream is now available instead.

“When families go to sealefuneral.com, pull up the obituary, at the bottom, it will be a link five minutes before the funeral begins. They can click on that link and go live with Facebook,” Suchman explained.

Managers of the funeral home say family members will be allowed to use the WiFi available.

Families also have the option to delay a funeral, but directors say they don’t recommend it because there’s no telling when this crisis will end. Suchman suggests families have small visitations or graveside burial.

“Then come back and have a memorial service or a gathering at our funeral home. We’re not charging anything additional to that," Suchman said.

Suchman adds that funeral arrangements are being conducted over the phone, by fax, or through email.

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