For the bereaved, funerals are an important part of saying goodbye to their loved ones, however, as with every other aspect of life, funeral services are also being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Karl Oliver, owner of Oliver Funeral Home and Lee Funeral Home in Winona, said his funeral homes have a COVID-19 policy in place that will be followed.
“We have limited the number of people in our facility. We have a max of five family members who are allowed to come in and make arrangements,” Oliver said.
Bill Lord with William and Lord Funeral Homes said they have limiting their services as well. Lord said right now, they are not holding church or chapel services, only graveside.
“The public can come to the graveside. You know, there are enough spaces there, and they can come, but we are not holding church or chapel services right now,” Lord said.
Many may not attend the service, but they can attend the visitation service. Oliver and Lord said there are limitations on who can attend visitation. At William & Lord, visitation is only for the family.
“It makes it harder on the families, and it makes it harder on the public,” Lord said. “But we have to consider our health, also.”
Oliver said he allows 25 immediate family members and their one guests to the visitation.
“We know some families are larger than 50 to 60 people so we can do visitations in multiple intervals of 30-40 minutes apart. Oliver said his facility adheres to the 25 people rule, and a lot of people are choosing not to attend.
“And that’s okay. They shouldn’t be in large gatherings. For those who choose not to attend, we have an online guestbook, and we print them off and include it with the register so they’ll have a record.”
Lord said, “The federal government placed guidelines limiting how many people can be in a gathering. That’s why they’ve stopped congregating services. I think a lot of states, counties, and towns have ruled on that, and they’ll put a fine on you.”
Oliver said for the actual service, if it is indoors, in the Oliver or Lee Funeral Home chapels or inside of a church, it is limited to immediate family only. No one outside of the family can attend.
He said people are understanding of the times that we are in now and are respecting the request.