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How physical distancing changes funeral plans
KITCHENER -- Physical distancing is changing the way we live our lives and how we pay our respects.
Funeral homes say services and celebrations of life are being postponed, cancelled, or live-streamed.
“We wanted to have a celebration of life and kind of be able to put a closing to everything,” said Jody Ried.
For Ried, physical distancing has disrupted funeral service plans for her late husband, Bill.
“You're in grieving and then you're basically in isolation, and this is the time you need someone to come and hug you and you don't get that,” said Ried.
Funeral homes say the changes haven't affected what they do.
“All funeral directors and all funeral homes do practice what's called universal precautions. Using chemicals, masks, goggles, gloves, and gowns to protect themselves,” said Graham Giddy, owner of Graham A. Giddy Funeral Home Waterloo Chapel.
The impact is instead being felt more by grieving families.
“We've been told we need to expedite the burial under a relatively normal pace. Which could be two or three or four days, not 10, 12, or 14,” said Giddy.
To maintain distancing Graham Giddy Funeral Home will only allow four pallbearers, instead of six.
50 people can attend a burial but only four people can be close enough to witness the casket being lowered into the grave.
Some families have chosen to postpone funeral services, but for those opting for a smaller service can still accommodate others using technology
“The services online that we find most popular is the live-streaming,” said Henry Walser, owner of Henry Walser Funeral Home. “And they can watch the service at home.”
Funeral home owner Henry Walser says those offering their sympathies and condolences can send the online.
“People know that it's a serious time. We all have to do our part but that doesn't make it any easier for families looking for closure,” explained Walser.
“You know, having a celebration of life right after the death, it really is a closure. This way, we won't have any closure until the summer or who knows,” said Ried.