A notice to our families

June 8 UPDATE: Funeral Service Reopening Best Practices Recommendations

Massachusetts Funeral Homes may reopen operations at 40% capacity with one service at a time within the facility when we enter Phase II of the Commonwealth’s reopening. The Phase II start date is June 8, 2020.

The following mandatory requirements are addressed through the Massachusetts essential business requirements and have already been communicated to you.

• Protocols and training on social distancing practices

• Use of face coverings (masks) and appropriate PPE

• Determination of a regular sanitation procedure and schedule

• Determination of a regular cleaning schedule

• Training for staff getting sick and returning to work

• Establishment of a plan for when an employee tests positive

• Training for new policies and procedures with staff

• Completion of the control plan

• Posting of signage

The following are additional recommendations of the Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association Funeral Service Reopening Workgroup for funeral establishments to consider adopting:

• Offer multiple visitation times for vulnerable populations (e.g. those over 65, those who have underlying health conditions or those who are immunocompromised)

• Layout chapel space to underestimate total occupancy even when social distancing practices are implemented

• When possible offer a separate entrance and exit to the facility with appropriate signage and direction.

• In addition to other locations within the facility, hand sanitizer should be available and its use recommended at the entry and exit (when different) of the funeral establishment

• Discuss with families the option to consider in person attendance by invitation with all others attending remotely

• Consider the offering of remote options

• Each funeral establishment should be allowed to manage and maintain the entrance/exit (rotation) of attendees during visitations when practical or necessary

• If a line forms outside of the funeral establishment, those waiting should be encouraged to maintain social distancing. Taping, other markings or signage on the funeral establishment property is recommended to direct social distancing of at least 6 feet.

• Discourage the use of tightly confined spaces such as hired vehicles (limousines) and elevators by more than one person at a time unless all are wearing face coverings or all members of the same household. Occupancy must never exceed the maximum capacity of the vehicle or space considering social distancing guidelines unless it is designed for use by one person.

• Discourage the use of register books and pens

• Distribute prayer cards to family for distribution after the visitation and/or service.

• Prohibit the offering or provision of shared food and beverage at the funeral establishment.

• Discuss CDC Funeral Guidance for Individuals and Families during the arrangement conference

• Encourage funeral establishment owners to review the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance that addresses employer responsibilities to their employees regarding COVID-19.

For more information, please visit the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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