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COVID-19 changes how funeral homes operate

Funeral homes have turned to technology for help during this time.

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Funeral homes have had to change the way they hold services, because gatherings are limited to only five people in Connecticut. Where families who have lost a loved one normally come together, social distancing is keeping them apart.

“They’re coming in here with the expectation that things are going to be a little different than they’ve been in the past,” said Alexander Scott, president of the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association.

Funeral homes have turned to technology for help during this time.

“We are in the process of doing live-streaming for the families that do wish to have it we have also a conference call number that we could have families call into a grave side services so they can hear the minister and the prayers,” said Lionel Lessard, general manager at D’Esopo Funeral Chapel in East Hartford and Wethersfield.

Another option families have, is to plan a celebration of life or memorial for later on.

“We’ve started actually a file that we keep that has a cover sheet of the folder and contact information that we keep for the family and we just keep that ongoing relationship with them so no one is overlooked when things are safer to have more of a public event,” said Scott.

A priority and challenge for funeral directors has been being there for the families as they grieve.

“Funeral service is a very personal business and one that we establish a long term relationship with a lot of the families we serve and it’s been a little difficult not being able to, when we see a family come in, to not be able to give them a hug,” said Scott.

However, funeral directors are looking also looking at the way this will help families connect in the future.

“It’s become new for all of us but this can be something that we can take from this when the families live far away,” said Lessard.

Funeral directors say though it’s an unprecedented time, safety for the families and for their staff comes first in what they do.

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