As with every other aspect of our lives, the COVID-19 outbreak has affected funeral and memorial services. Our job is not only to provide services to help families when a death occurs, but to also protect the public health; that includes the families who call us to help, the people we interact with during the course of our work, including healthcare providers, our own staff and the larger community. We continue to get updates from the government and funeral directors' associations with recommendations. We must comply with all of these government guidelines.
Therefore effective immediately we must abide by Gov. Baker's Emergency Declaration announced March 23, 2020.
"To minimize community spread, as well as to provide for adequate social distancing, all residents of the Commonwealth of MA are ordered to remain in their residences and not gather publicly. All public funeral gatherings, viewings, or ceremonies, therefore, should not be conducted in any funeral home, place of worship, cemetery, or crematory until further notice. Only immediate family should be permitted to privately identify and participate in a non-public viewing and/or abbreviated service, and witness the final disposition (assuming the particular cemetery permits this)."
The letter issued by Massachusetts Funeral Directors Association President C.R. Lyons continues:
"There are no restrictions on embalming or final disposition method restrictions in place at this time. Decedents should not be stored or held for future memorialization. Removal, preparation, and disposition should take place in a timely and efficient manner with all public memorial events, ceremonies, and services postponed until after this order is lifted.
Each funeral home is requested to assist families through their grief- a grief that has been severely compounded by these necessary restrictions-in a thoughtful and creative manner. Funeral home staff may continue to operate under this order and the next of kin, if they are not subject to quarantine, may make arrangements in the funeral home or at their residence. However, we strongly encourage the making of arrangements through other means such as via telephone and email. Working together, we are certain to get through this unprecedented time."
As was stated in earlier notices, it is our understanding the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne is allowing witnessed burial by immediate family fewer than 10 people. The Massachusetts Memorial Veterans' Cemeteries are providing for direct burials only. Military honors by the US Armed Services, volunteers and Veterans organizations will not be permitted nor provided at this time. These policies are subject to change with little or no notice.
We will continue to provide updates as they are available.
One of the features we offer on our website is a Family Collaboration Center where you can collaborate with us and other family members on funeral arrangements from the convenience and safety of your home. Please call us at 508-754-1673 if you have any questions.
Sincerely, Celeste Rice Kimball and Roger Rice
In the Services section of our website we provide a complete copy of our General Price List, Casket and Urn price lists that you can view and download.