Constant COVID guidelines posing challenge to funeral homes in Mississippi

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COLUMBUS, Miss.(WCBI) — There is still so much unknown about the novel Corornavirus, as guidelines from Governor Tate Reeves has posed a challenge for funeral homes in the state.

Bennie Hairston, vice president of Century Hairston Funeral Homes, said it seems as if there has been a never-ending cycle of changes since the pandemic started.

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“It’s kind of hard because, you know, because we get used to one set,” said Hairston. “Just like going back to 10, and next thing you know, it opens up. Then, we’re back to 10. So it’s hard but we have to do our best to stay on top of it.”

Hairston said families are changing the way they honor their loved ones. He said cremations are becoming more common, but graveside services have been the primary choice for families.

“Some services we will have music, some services we’ve had choir singing but I make sure everybody is spread out,” said Hairston. “It’s just like a full-blown service just like they would have it in a church.”

Caleb Pounders, president and funeral director of Lowndes Funeral Home and Crematory, said informing families of COVID guidelines is the most challenging part.

“As time has gone on, now we are about five months into it, people are understanding,” said Pounders. “It’s not necessarily that they like it. But they understand that it is out of our control. It is something bigger than just us and our city and our state, it’s you know, worldwide.”

Pounders said graveside services have also been a popular option for this business. For one reason, COVID19 guidelines allows for more people to be outdoors in a space than indoors.

“A lot of the families just immediate family group is more than the restriction that we have,” said Pounders. “So right now we’re under 10 people indoors 20 people outdoors. And a lot of the mediate family is more than just 10 people.”