NewsHealth / August 5, 2020

Low Turnout At Indiana Funeral Services Blamed On COVID-19



SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Indiana funeral directors say they are seeing low attendance at services due to coronavirus concerns even after the state lifted a rule that limited the number of people allowed to attend funerals.

The order, which took effect in March, allowed only 10 people at each service. But the state dismissed the ban in May when houses of worship were allowed to reopen, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Bishop Donald Alford, who is the director and founder of Alford’s Mortuary, said many people are still apparently uncomfortable with going to services.

“There’s a difference between people that can attend and people who will attend," Alford said.

Palmer Funeral Homes is also not at full capacity, co-owner Kerry Palmer said. But he is glad that the state dismissed the ban.

“We can have more people present, so that’s a good thing,” Palmer said. “I think it helps the family grieve when people can come in and show their respects and be part of the loss and grieving process.”

Andy Clayton, executive director and CEO of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association, said there has been an increase in services in the state.

Clayton applauds funeral directors for adapting during the pandemic, saying it is their job to promote public health and prevent the spread of disease.

Directors should limit the number of funeral guests, promote social distancing and require everyone to wear a mask, he said.

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