Grieving is a necessary process for anyone who experiences loss. The social support that family and friends give is essential, especially during the global pandemic that claimed thousands of lives in the US alone. However, COVID-19 has also affected how we proceed with the customary funeral and cremation services in Chantilly, Virginia regardless of the person’s cause of death.
Since COVID-19 is highly contagious, gathering like we used to would not be sensible unless you follow guidelines set by the state or federal government. Together with religious leaders and funeral directors, bereaved families and friends continue to work with substitutes to traditional memorials. During these difficult times, connect and support each other while following general guidelines and alternatives.
Arranging a Funeral in Time of a Pandemic
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that COVID-19 doesn’t affect the final disposition of a deceased loved one, whether it is through burial or cremation. Families, however, are urged to consider making changes or adjustments to the traditional funeral gatherings since providers of funeral and cremation services in Chantilly, Virginia may be overwhelmed during this public health emergency.
Although there are no restrictions regarding wakes and funerals, the CDC strongly recommends following the daily health protocols before, during, and after the somber occasion to avoid the spread of COVID-19; these include:
- Utilizing video conferencing or regular phone calls to talk to your funeral director, religious leader, and other people involved in the funeral arrangements.
- Using cashless payments for all the services through mobile payment services.
- If meeting in person is unavoidable, follow everyday preventive routines, such as wearing a mask, sanitizing your hands, and social distancing to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
- Discussing alternative methods to honor the departed without compromising your health and safety.
- Not meeting people in person if you are sick and might have been exposed to the virus.
Safety Guidelines During Funerals
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is transmitted when respiratory droplets from the cough, sneeze, or spit of an infected person reach other people or contaminate surfaces. Additional studies in 2021 also suggest that the virus can spread via airborne transmission. This means smaller virus-containing respiratory droplets remain in the air for hours and reach areas more than 6 feet. So, it is crucial to keep in mind the following:
- Limit the number of unvaccinated people attending the viewing or service.
- Maintain social distancing of around 6 feet apart to lessen the likelihood of person-to-person transmission.
- If the people can’t maintain social distancing, wearing masks reduces the virus’ chances of contaminating surfaces and infecting unvaccinated people.
- Proper ventilation in memorial venues also lowers the risks of spreading COVID-19.
- Be consistent with hand hygiene and disinfection of high-traffic areas and commonly used objects, like door handles and table surfaces.
- Consider other options for those susceptible to respiratory diseases, like the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions.
Alternatives to a Traditional Funeral Gathering
In difficult times, sympathy and care from the people who understand matters significantly. But during this global pandemic, seeing each other in person might not always be an option. It is still possible to connect with grieving family and friends through methods that seemed unorthodox before; these include:
- Instead of having a gathering, host video conferences for family and friends for a virtual viewing of the wake and other funeral rites.
- Create an online memorial for the deceased through social media or email groups. The bereaved can share stories, pictures, and videos to honor the departed.
- If your loved one died due to COVID-19, it might be challenging to find immediate support because of the stigma surrounding the virus’ contagiousness. You can join online communities dedicated to grief counseling and support from those who have been affected by the pandemic as well.
After the Funeral
If all safety protocols are followed, there is less chance for any transmission during a funeral gathering. If you feel any symptoms after attending a funeral, assess your risk exposure based on the CDC ranking of the following scenarios:
- No risk – Exclusively online funeral services
- Low risk – A small gathering outdoors with vaccinated people or unvaccinated people wearing masks and stays 6-feet apart
- High risk – A large group that comes from different locations gather indoors with unvaccinated attendees unable to maintain social distancing even with masks on
- Highest risk – A service involving a large crowd of unvaccinated people with no social distancing and only a few individuals wearing masks