Funeral home directors set guidelines to stop spread of coronavirus

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TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – The governor’s executive order calling on Mississippians to shelter in place is being felt in all walks of life and in every type of business.

Funeral directors in Lee County have set guidelines they will follow as the governor’s executive order takes effect. They are trying to balance compassionate care, while providing a safe environment in their funeral homes.

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“Grief cannot be quarantined,” said Steve Holland, who owns Holland Funeral Directors, and has seen grief up close for nearly fifty years.

He joined area funeral directors at a news conference to announce guidelines they have all adopted to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Those guidelines included halting all visitations, allowing no more than ten people to be at a funeral, following the six-foot rule for social distancing, and canceling public graveside services.

Jacque Grayson, of Grayson-Porter’s Mortuary, said the past few weeks have been tough on everyone, from family members of loved ones to funeral directors.

“I know it’s hard, because it is so hard for me as a director to tell a family what they cannot do, I don’t like it one bit, but it’s not in our control, I love serving and to be able for the family to do what they want for that loved one,” said Grayson.

Holland explained most people understand the need for the temporary guidelines during this crisis.

“By and large most have been understanding, there have been a few that has threatened my life because I said you cannot have a funeral with 150 people there, not in my place and I won’t be there wherever you have it,” said Holland.

Holland explained he’s been through a similar time as a funeral director. Hollan said the AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s was similar, because of the fear it caused among the public, and even among funeral directors.

Funeral homes are using livestream to broadcast funerals to family and friends of loved ones who can’t attend funerals in person.

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