News & Events

News: Social distancing rules make funeral services challenging

Well, at least tears are still permitted at funerals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a patchwork of bureaucratic guidelines by departments of public health in Sacramento and the counties that have made the business of operating a funeral home incredibly complex.

Until late in May, funeral homes were not permitting more than 10 people to attend a funeral indoors, everyone had to wear a mask, and no one could get closer than six feet in order to maintain a safe social distance.

However, strict rules on how many can attend a funeral are beginning to crumble — something that may give the funeral industry a second life.

The Santa Barbara Cemetery has limited burial ceremonies to 10 attendees. No flowers have been permitted and anyone beyond the 10-person crowd size is required to sit in their car. Everyone remains in their cars until the deceased is fully buried, and staff have moved away.

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News: Funeral Homes Turn to Zoom, Creativity Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

At McDermott-Crockett Mortuary, they have joined the ranks of private business and schools and are offering services through Zoom. 

"We are utilizing Zoom technology to either video document the service or provide a platform where people can participate wherever they are," said Jennifer Parks, general manager, funeral arrangement counselor, and a certified funeral celebrant for McDermott-Crockett. 

Parks said the mortuary utilized the technology at a recent service, which 57 people attended remotely. One of the three people graveside at the Santa Barbara Cemetery streamed the video on their phone.

"They were able to see and speak at the grave site by way of technology," Parks said. 

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News: Zoom Turns Into Live Funeral, Memorial Service Platform

San Francisco: While the controversial video meet app Zoom is busy serving the living – helping millions participate in video conferencing calls worldwide – the platform has also become a live funeral and memorial services for many to connect with families and friends during the mourning hours.

Several social media users have revealed how they participated in last rites and memorial services of their near and dear ones on Zoom in social distancing times amid lockdowns when all kind of gatherings are banned. 

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News: The Lonely Funeral Blues

Twelve. This is the number of people who have died of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County since Governor Newsom issued a stay-at-home order that, among many guidelines, restricts gatherings of more than 10 people. But in the wake of the pandemic, funeral directors must balance social distancing with the undeniable needs of a family in mourning. For each of the 12, whose names remain clothed in privacy laws, there were friends, family, and loved ones who were forced to find alternative ways to grieve together without actually being together. It’s a dilemma shared by all families who have lost a loved one in the past two months — on average, eight people die daily in the county for a variety of reasons.

Read the full article here.