The covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we do everything. From the way, we interact with family, the way our kids learn, the way we host family celebrations, and even the way we hold funerals. With the stress the pandemic has put upon everyone, losing a loved one during this period can be an added burden to a year everyone is barely trying to survive. Traditionally, funerals were a place to decently send off loved ones along with other family members. In the middle of a pandemic, however, the priority is to stay safe as we go through the highs and lows of life. It is also important to ensure you are compliant with the government regulations on how to conduct yourself during the pandemic. In this article, we share tips to plan a funeral when you cannot leave home during the pandemic.
Isolate Those With Covid-19 Symptoms
If there are any friends or family members who are feeling sick or showing symptoms of Covid-19, it is important that you advise them to self-isolate at home. You can use the Ministry of Health guidelines on Covid-19 to self-assess. You should also self-isolate if you have recently traveled. Much as giving a loved one a send-off is important, it is important to make sure no one gets infected during the funeral.
Livestream The Service For Those At Home
You can live stream the event so that those who are unable to be physically present can attend virtually and share their tributes. Virtual events have become the new normal during the Covid-19 pandemic and hosting a funeral virtually is nothing abnormal. This will allow those who are sick to follow the vent as well as those who are afraid of leaving their homes. Restrictions on movement can also make it hard for some of the close family members and friends to travel most especially if they live in other states or countries that have not opened their borders. Live streaming the event will make it possible for each member of the family to attend; it will also reduce the number of people attending and hence make it possible to conduct the event without a crowd.
Organizing The Event
Take advantage of service companies that are available online to limit the number of movements you have to make while organizing the event. There are funeral service companies that offer services online and will deliver everything you need. You can buy headstones online and the coffin as well. You can also buy them online and have the photo framed and delivered. Choose the option that suits your needs and remember to submit the right details.
Create A Program
You should also create a program ahead of time and send everyone a copy ahead of time. You can have it simple or make it as detailed as you want. The program should include the order of the events that are scheduled to happen such as a short prayer at the beginning, reading of the eulogy, tributes, and so on. As much as the event will be held virtually, this does not mean those attending through the online link cannot participate.
Assign Roles In Advance
Assign roles in advance so that every person knows when they will be speaking and also what to say. For instance, you should notify the family member or friend who will be reading the eulogy ahead of time. You should also have someone who will give the final remarks. It would be better to have a program line up that is as detailed as possible to ensure everyone the event runs smoothly.
Mute Your Machines
Another important thing while holding an event virtually is to remind the guests to mute their computers so as to avoid any distractions. Funerals are a somber event and it is therefore important that distractions are avoided to allow the family to pay their final respects accordingly.
Hold The Event In A Large Venue
Hosting the event in a large venue such as a field or an auditorium will allow for attendees to follow the Covid-19 restrictions. If you can, host the event outdoors where you there is a lot of space and a lot of fresh air. You can limit the number of attendees to match the size of the venue so that there can be social distancing. Attendees can wave and nod but cannot greet each other. Every attendant should wear a mask throughout the event to avoid transmission. Inform attendees of these regulations in advance to avoid any confrontations and to have those who are against these guidelines attend virtually.
You should also set up points where attendants can clean their hands regularly or whenever they touch anything. It is important to inform your guests that the guidelines are set to protect them from contracting the disease while attending the event and not meant to discriminate against anybody. Remember the bigger the group, the higher the chances of the virus spreading during the event, which is something you want to, avoid. You should also have sanitizers placed strategically in places where people are likely to touch doorknobs, the casket, and so on.
When creating a list of attendants, you should prioritize close family members and friends close to the departed. You can then follow up with colleagues and other friends after all family members have been listed. You can create a group and share the link to the virtual event so that those who cannot attend can join in.
Create A Children’s Play Area
Create a space or tent where kids can play during the event so that they do not distract the guests. All kids attending the memorial service can play together in one spot as long as they have washed their hands and are advised to avoid touching faces. Most people would most probably avoid bringing children to the event but close family members who have not much of a choice should be allowed to bring their kids. Creating a space where kids can hang out together safely will give peace of mind to guests with kids.
Space Out Seats
You should space out the seats at the venue. You can have them at least 1.5 meters apart. If you will be hosting the event outdoors, you can mark spots where guests can stand.
Serving Food And Drinks
When serving food and drinks, you can have one person serve everyone. Those serving should sanitize the utensils and organize the serving station in a manner that will allow every guest to pick their own utensils. You can also use disposable utensils to reduce the chances of transmission.
Lastly, expect glitches during the event. This is no reason to freak out. A funeral is a celebration of life and it is important to celebrate the departed family or friend even during the pandemic. While the pandemic has been a depressing period for many, it can be difficult planning a funeral during this period. Take advantage of online services as much as you can to make it easier on you. Collaborate with as many people as you need to and remember to communicate everything with your guests. Lastly, you should be ready to answer questions from family and friends who will be attending. You can get suggestions from family, friends, and factor in their suggestions so as to make everyone comfortable.