As the threat of the coronavirus grows, extra measurements are being taken to keep people safe. California is the first state to impose a lockdown and funeral workers are now added to the list of critical infrastructure workers, which allows them to continue their work while in lockdown.
In the wake of the Covid-19 health crisis the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) has worked with government officials to list mortuary workers as critical infrastructure workers, protecting communities and grieving families who will be in need of death care professionals.
Critical Mortuary Services
According to the NAFD the following mortuary workers are included in the list of critical infrastructure workers: “Workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemetery workers” and “Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death; and facilitate access to mental/behavioral health services to the family members, responders, and survivors of an incident,” are included in the “Healthcare/Public Health” category along with doctors, nurses, people performing testing and researchers. Essentially covering the full spectrum of those who work in death care.
With California now under lockdown it’s unclear if funerals are still permitted. The federal government guidelines had already urged no gatherings of over 10 people and the new California State lockdown doesn’t state to what extent funerals can be held. For now many funeral directors are trying to help families with alternatives, such streaming services or service delays until lockdown is lifted.