Of all the industries that have been affected by Covid-19, there aren't many which have been asked to change as much as the ones in charge of caring for the recently deceased. Directing funerals is a difficult enough task as it is but only gets more difficult when you add social distancing regulations into the mix.
"We were hoping that this year would be different but it’s not really working out the way we’d hoped. Some families are not able to properly grieve and find closure" said Michelle Ellis, Owner and Funeral Director at the Moose Jaw Funeral Home. “Many of our families are choosing not to have a service or are waiting, hoping to have an increase in the number of guests allowed in the near future”.
Losing a loved one is one of the more difficult and upsetting events a person can experience. For most people, the rituals involved with death include the human touch and close personal contact; holding hands, hugging, arms around shoulders, prayer, a steady stream of visiting friends and family often bringing flowers and food they cooked; everything touched and prepared by the human hand. All things which the government recommends people NOT to do. Doing some of these things can even lead to hefty fines.
Funeral Homes are placed in a strange situation where they are tasked with hosting people during their most heartbreaking moments while also enforcing the strict guidelines.
"The current numbers are 30 people in the chapel, reduced from 60.” Michelle told Moose Jaw Today. "We have one entrance and one exit, mandatory masks, hand sanitizing stations, social distancing measures. We've marked out six feet increments and we all wear masks in the building at all times."
The restrictions don't end outside of the chapel either. There are also graveside guidelines; which means plenty of friends and family wont be able to attend.
"It is also 30 people at the graveside." Michelle said. "Masks are not mandatory outside but we do recommend them to be worn. We are finding that most family members and guests are choosing to wear them.”
Fortunately for Moose Jaw Funeral Home they are the most modern facility of its kind in the city. That means, at the request of the family, they can broadcast entire services online so the people who couldn't attend the service can still partake in it.