In the past month as the state of Ohio has started re-opening, local funeral homes have made slight changes to help families dealing with the loss of a loved one.
At Roberts Funeral Home in Washington Court House, funeral home director Wayne Roberts said the COVID-19 restrictions have allowed them to increase attendance to 50, which is much improved but still not ideal.
“Myself and the Roberts Funeral Home team will be wearing masks and practicing social distancing when possible and encouraging our visitors to do so as well,” Roberts said in an email last week. “We have masks available, but are encouraging friends and family to bring their own if possible. We also have hand sanitizer available in various locations. Our lounge will temporarily remain closed to avoid potential congregating points, and entry and exit points will be marked for increased safety. We will continue to monitor current guidelines and adapt appropriately. We are doing our best to keep our friends, family and visitors safe. As always we are doing everything in our power to give our families the best possible service. Online streaming services can be made available and personalization is always top priority.”
Roger Kirkpatrick — director of Kirkpatrick Funeral Home — said they also have moved to 50 people, have been trying to keep up with social distancing and are encouraging individuals who want to wear a mask to do so.
“You just can’t really tell someone that they can’t come in for a funeral, it is a difficult situation,” Kirkpatrick said. “People have been concerned, are aware of the guidelines and people have been very good about accepting those guidelines and doing what is being suggested.”
Finally, Vanessa Summers — funeral director and embalmer with Summers Funeral Home — thanked the community for being receptive of the guidelines being used. She added that no one has become upset and all families have been extremely helpful listening to those guidelines.
“They have all been worried about doing something wrong and have worked with us to follow some of the changes,” Summers said. “As of today we are still encouraging — we can’t force it — but we are still encouraging visitors to wear masks. Our employees do and we still have things like the signs up with the usual asking those with symptoms to not enter please, and we still have our hand sanitizer set up everywhere. We are still not able to offer the coffee and we usually have candy out, but it’s suggested we keep that put away for now. But we cannot stop the family from doing something and had one of the families bring a cooler for a drink. Everyone has been really receptive of what we need to adhere with.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.