Wakes, funerals and the coronavirus

A warm smile, handshake and a comforting hug have always been the most welcome and appreciated gestures by visitors coming into our funeral home to pay respects to friends and family. During this most recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, we ask our families as well as visitors to minimize personal contact. Instead of a handshake or hug we ask that you minimize contact by either offering a friendly "elbow bump" or even better, just look someone in the eye and offer condolences verbally.

Our concern for the general public is genuine. We want our families and their guests to feel safe and be safe when attending services here in our funeral home, at a Church or Cemetery. Minimizing physical contact is the best practice! Washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds is the best practice to minimize the spread. We have an ample supply of hand sanitizer throughout or funeral home for use by our families and their guests and we encourage you to use it before you come into the building and again before you leave. 

We care deeply about our families, their friends and our community. Now is not a time for panic, but more a time of vigiliance and extra care. Washing your hands frequently is something we should do daily anyway. If you do not feel well, please stay home. You could send a condolence message to a family, order flowers for a service, light a memorial candle and even have a tree planted in memory of a loved one through our website.


UPDATE as of March 17, 2020

In the interest of public safety and health we are suspending public visitation at our funeral home. We will arrange a private visitation for immediate family members only. Also, we received the following notice from the Archdiocese of Hartford regarding funeral Masses: Unless it is already scheduled and planned, all funeral Masses are suspended. Additionally, wake services at funeral homes are not recommended. Priests are allowed to celebrate the "Rite of Committal with Final Commendation" at the graveside. Participation at such services should be limited to immediate family and close friends only, and their number must be in keeping with the limits established by the civil authorities. A Mass for the repose of the soul of the deceased, as provided for in the Roman Missal, can be added to the parish Mass intentions and offered as soon as reasonably possible under the circumstances, or, if the family desires, a public celebration of this Mass at a later date can be contemplated. 

All previously scheduled services will go on as planned and we urge our community to use your discretion on attendance at visitations and Funeral Masses that have already been scheduled. 

We understand the toll this is taking on our community. We are living through an unprecedented period in our history and it is imperative that we work in collaboration with our partners in Funeral Service to provide a safe environment for our families, their friends and our community. 

Some suggestions as we move forward: Send coldolences and share your stories, memories and photos on our website. We encourage families to use Facebook Live or some other social platform to livestream a graveside service to your family and friends. Use our website to make prearrangements as well as immediate need arrangements. If there is an immediate need please call us at (203) 865-8961.

Please continue to monitor your own health, wash your hands properly, respect social distancing and use this time productively. 

In the interest of public safety we will only be performing one visitation (wake) service at a time. We understand this may be an inconvenience to the families we serve as well as those who are attending to pay their respects, but it is a small sacrifice to make for not only your safety, but the safety of our community.  We thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.


We ask that anyone coming to a visitation (wake) service at our funeral home follow our safety protocol:

No handshaking, kissing or hugging. We will only allow a maximum of 10 visitors into the funeral home at a time. We ask that you pay your respects and then exit the building. Please use hand sanitizer before greeting the family and again before you leave the funeral home. At Mass, we ask that there be no more than three people to a pew and that you utilize every other pew to adhere to social distancing requirements. If you are not feeling well, please stay home. 


The following information was released to us by the National Funeral Directors Association who has been working diligently with the Center for Disease Control. We will continue to update the information as it becomes available to us.

CDC Releases Practical COVID-19 Guidance for Funeral Directors

Posted March 11, 2020

NFDA continues to lead the conversation with federal officials about the role of funeral service as it relates to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. At the request of NFDA and as a follow up to the postmortem guidance released by the CDC in late-February, today, the agency released specific information about funeral and visitation services to help funeral directors safely care for people who have died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Specifically, this answers the following questions:

  • Am I at risk if I go to a funeral or visitation service for someone who died of COVID-19?
  • Am I at risk if I touch someone who died of COVID-19 after they have passed away?
  • What do funeral home workers need to know about handling decedents who had COVID-19?
  • What should I do if my family member died from COVID-19 while overseas and what are the requirements for returning the body to the U.S.?

In summary:

  • You can still have a funeral or visitation.
  • Bodies can be embalmed using proper PPE.
  • Decedents can be buried or cremated but check with state and local requirements.

We urge you to review this critical information immediately and share it with your staff.

This is the most up-to-date information that we have. From the very beginning of this situation, NFDA has been receiving information from the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies about the evolution of COVID-19 in the United States. As we receive new information, we are sharing it with you and will continue to do so as long as necessary. 

The CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) – phone: 770-488-7100 – is available for urgent consultation should you need additional guidance regarding a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.

Cremation or Burial

At this time, the CDC states that decedents with COVID-19 may be buried or cremated according to the family’s preferences. However, you should “check for any additional state and local requirements that may dictate the handling and disposition of the remains of individuals who have died of certain infectious diseases.”

Visitations and Funerals

At this time, CDC guidance states, “There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19.” However, the CDC also notes, “People should consider not touching the body of someone who has died of COVID-19.”

As with any gathering or event, you should check with local health officials to determine whether there are any prohibitions on holding public events, such as a visitation or funeral.

As an extra layer of precaution for you, your staff and those you serve, you may want to consider other measures such as:

  • Remind families about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as by staying home if you are sick, washing your hands, and covering coughs and sneezes. The CDC has great informational flyers, such as “How to Stop The Spread of Germs,” you can post in your funeral home or hand out to families.
  • Keep soap dispensers filled in public (and employee) restrooms.
  • Offer alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to guests (and employees).
  • Have extra tissues on hand.
  • If, for some reason, an individual is unable to attend a service, discuss options with the family:
    • Can the service be webcast using either a webcasting service or Facebook Live?
    • Can the service be postponed?
    • Can the family hold a memorial gathering – either in addition to or in lieu of a funeral service – at a later date?

As a business open to the public, it’s important that you and your staff be vigilant about cleaning, especially after services or arrangement conferences. The CDC offers guidance for businesses – including recommendations on cleaning products – on cleaning facilities open to the public.


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