COVID-19 Resources for Funeral Directors
COVID-19 Resources for
Colorado Funeral Directors
The Colorado Funeral Directors Association is the leading source
of information, education and resources for the funeral service
profession in the State of Colorado.
Colorado COVID-19 Overview
Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced that Safer at Home orders have been extended to July 1.
Seventh Amended Public Health Order issued by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on June 18:
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment posted the Seventh Amended Public Health Order 20-28 Safer at Home on June 18, 2020.
Althought this PHO grants permissions to resume indoor and outdoor events such as receptions, events, non-critical auctions, theaters, trade shows, markets, indoor malls, rodeos, fairs, festivals and parades, it does NOT grant permission to resume receptions held in conjunction with funerals or weddings.
Found on Page 7 of the 47-page order, Section K states:
- Life rites, such as wedding ceremonies, graduation ceremonies and funerals, and other religious rites are authorized at 50% capacity not to exceed 50 people indoors, with strict compliance with Social Distancing Requirements for employees and any attendees of services.
- Effective June 18, 2020, extra large venues hosting life rites may operate up to 100 people indoors within their usable space calculated using the Social Distancing Space Calculator.
- For outdoor rites, individuals must maintain 6 feet distance between non-household members and work with the appropriate local authority to obtain approval for the maximum number of individuals who may attend in the designated outdoor space.
- Only the ceremony or rite itself is included in this authorization; receptions or parties associated with life rites are NOT included in this authorization.
Life rites should follow the guidance for houses of worship found here. That guidance specifies that social receptions or parties associated with funeral homes or venues for wedding ceremonies still must follow mass gathering limitations.
CFDA Letter to Governor Polis
Colorado funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries have been dutiful in complying with public health orders to protect the health and safety of consumers. Now that the Safer at Home mandates are expiring and many businesses are re-opening, consumers are demanding to resume funeral rituals and memorial services while funeral establishments lack sufficient guidelines and operational standards to do so.
The Colorado Funeral Directors Association (CFDA) has collected recommendations from its members and proposes the following:
• Continue to maintain 6-ft social distance between people who don’t shelter together for all gatherings.
• No-touch interactions and wearing face coverings at gatherings.
• Capacity limits up to 50% within a facility (depending upon the overall size of the facility) that will ensure sufficient distancing.
• Gatherings that allow 100+ people in outdoor settings like a cemetery.
We also want to recognize and acknowledge the efforts of Colorado's deathcare workers. These #LastResponders have been the silent partners alongside healthcare workers and first responders in continuing to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funeral home and crematory workers have been working around the clock and putting themselves at great risk to care for the deceased and their families with dignity and respect.
We respectfully ask that you consider our request and let me know if we can provide any support or assistance. Thank you to you and your staff for doing your best to keep Coloradans safe.
Earlier this week the first draft of guidelines for restaurants was posted for public review and comment: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MS_jLBNUi28Sr3tcHTXJuHY_3MPdPvU5/view
Funeral establishments, crematories and cemeteries can expect continued measures to maintain social distancing, sanitization and minimizing contacts points; gatherings may be allowed to increase incrementally.
More information will be posted here when available.
Best Practices for Funeral Homes, Crematories and Cemeteries
Allow employees to telecommute when possible.
Setup flexible shift plans to minimize the number of employees in the office.
Conduct meetings by telephone or online when possible.
There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19. All mortuary workers and other deathcare workers who have contact with human remains known or suspected to be contaminated with COVID-19 must wear appropriate PPE.
If your funeral establishment has a critical need for PPE supplies, contact your County Emergency Manager. Click here for a list of Colorado emergency managers.
Limit interactions with the body.
Clean and disinfect items from the deceased before returning to the family.
Limit gatherings to immediate family.
Encourage people who are ill or who are part of an at-risk population (e.g., the elderly, immune-compromised, etc.) to stay home.
Stagger appointments and events to limit number of people within the establishment.
- Wear a face mask to protect yourself and others.
Practice social distancing: Maintain a distance of at least 6-ft between you and other people. Restrict or arrange seating to maximize space between people.
Routinely clean high-touch surfaces such as door handles. Use soap and water or detergent to clean visible dirt. Use EPA-registered disinfectants.
Encourage cough etiquette and hand hygiene for employees and guests.
Minimize direct contact with staff, families and guests (e.g., handshakes, hugs, etc.)
Position a staff member to open a door during visitations and services to prevent people from touching the door handles.
Arrange a drive-by funeral procession so guests can pay respects from a safe distance;
Look into live streaming services over your funeral home's website, Facebook or YouTube. (Be sure to get written authorization to record and stream. Be aware of copyright laws for streaming content through Facebook, YouTube etc.)
Collaborate with photo and video professionals to produce recorded tributes that families can watch later;
Arrange virtual counseling and support groups for grieving families and guests;
Provide virtual options for guests to share messages and support during this difficult time.