Coronavirus Is Changing The Way We Honor The Dead | Connecticut Public Radio

Coronavirus Is Changing The Way We Honor The Dead

Mar 22, 2020

The threat of COVID-19 transmission is hampering our ability to celebrate the lives of those who die as the epidemic continues.

Funeral Masses have been suspended. Tributes at cemeteries and funeral homes are being scaled back. It’s all being done to limit crowd size and encourage social distancing for fear of further transmitting the virus.

“We’re maintaining an ongoing relationship with these families, though,” said Alexander Scott, president of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. “And encouraging -- certainly this is not the most organic way things are handled -- to be able to, when times are a little sunnier and things are not under some form of safety concerns, to be able to have a celebration of life when that time comes along.” 

Scott, who became president of the association in January, has more than 25 years of experience in the business, including running a couple of funeral homes in central Connecticut for the Duksa Family Funeral Homes firm.

He said his staff has doubled down on sanitization in the wake of the pandemic.

“We’re ionizing our chapels after they’ve been used and our public areas to cleanse the air and making sure that we’re providing clean restroom facilities for people to wash their hands.”

He also said there’s hand sanitizer all over the funeral home.

Scott said he’s mindful of the need for comfort at a brutal time of loss in someone’s life -- but he’s asking mourners to avoid physical contact.

Instead, he says, phone calls, sympathy cards and donations are safer ways to offer support.