WARSAW — Restrictions on large gatherings as a result of COVID-19 have affected many in the community, even those who are no longer with us.
Within the past two weeks, several obituaries in InkFreeNews mention the coronavirus situation, as some family members who have recently lost a loved one are deciding to postpone services, have private services or hold a memorial service later in the year. These decisions appear to be in response to President Trump’s guideline to avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
Cory Benz, Titus Funeral Home director and owner, said he’s noticed an increase in families asking for alternative options for visitation and services during the pandemic.
“We’ve had several families request changes,” Benz said. “One family went from a public to a private service, and another is having a memorial service at a later date.”
McHatton-Sadler Funeral Chapels also have had a couple of families change their loved one’s originally planned services due to the coronavirus restrictions.
Derek Sadler, McHatton-Sadler Funeral Chapel director, said their funeral homes are also working to stay informed of any new restrictions or changes related to the virus while making sure there’s hand sanitizer well-stocked for patrons to use.
“We’re staying informed and doing all we can to deep-clean,” Sadler said. “Funeral homes are all in the same boat since we’re an essential service to the community.”
“Disinfection and cleanliness is key,” said Benz. “We’re always putting out hand sanitizer and wiping down common hand-touch points.”
In regards to families’ decisions on services, both Sadler and Benz said that at the end of the day, the types of services are up to the relatives to decide upon.
“We are still here for the family, but we have been focusing more on having them fill out paperwork by home or e-mail,” said Benz.
Benz also said the funeral home is willing to do Facebook Live streaming of services if it is needed.
“We’re very much accommodating what the family sees fit for their loved one,” said Sadler. “We’re also adjusting our protocol as needed while this continues.”
Oakwood Cemetery Sexton Hal Heagy said burials at the cemetery are continuing but that some changes have been made, including no services being held at the chapel cemetery.
“We are keeping our distance while we are out at the grave, having only one person with the service fill after they leave,” said Heagy.
Sadler and Benz said neither of the funeral homes have experienced issues with accommodating any family as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
However, both funeral directors did ask community members to consider sending online condolences versus attending viewings or visitations in-person.
“Safety is our top priority for our families and employees,” said Benz.