Funeral homes implement major changes amid COVID-19 outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak is forcing funeral homes to make some major changes in the way families and friends can say their final goodbyes to a loved one. (Source: KNOE)

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The coronavirus outbreak is forcing funeral homes to make some major changes in the way families and friends can say their final goodbyes to a loved one.

Under Governor John Bel Edwards executive order, any event or gathering must be limited to 10 people. This crowd limitation places a strain in the way typical funerals are held.

Laura Kilpatrick-Marchelos is the president of Kilpatrick Funeral Homes & Cemeteries. She says under the new guidelines, that 10 person maximum not only includes the family attending the funeral, but also the funeral home staff.

“We immediately stepped up those into place,” said Marchelos.

She says they actually began preparing for these new changes in December, when the coronavirus first started to emerge.

Marchelos explained how a typical funeral could look like for the foreseeable future.

“We are utilizing FaceTime, we are utilizing email, and we are utilizing our phones obviously more and getting all the information that you possibly can before a family member even has to step in here,” she said. “A short small 30 minute timeframe for a family to come in and say goodbye and it is extremely monitored.”

Daily conference calls with state boards have kept funeral homes up to date with how to respond.

So far, Marchelos says families have been understanding with the limitations.

“It’s been hard. It’s been difficult. But I have not had one family that didn’t understand and appreciated trying them during their time of loss,” she said. “We’re helping families get through this as best as we can, and we’re going to be here.”