End-of-Life Industry Can Continue With Funerals, Burials, and Support Despite Social Distancing
MIAMI, FL MARCH 13, 2020
On an average day in the United States, there’s an estimated 7,700 deaths (Center for Disease Control). Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, these non-Coronavirus deaths will continue and numbers will increase due to the crisis. Cultures and religions have different burial rituals, however in the age of social distancing people are questioning if they should attend a funeral, wake, or a shiva for a loved one. Friends and family of mourners also are asking how to show support for mourners when they’re required to stay feet away.
Sympathy Brands, the parent company to shiva.com, eCondolence.com, and Cemetery.com reports a 300 percent increase over this time last week in inbound calls and emails as consumers and businesses who specialize in end-of-life preparation, grief, condolence, and commemoration services question the best way to proceed. The company is busy counseling mourners, funeral homes and those that support them on ways to conduct funerals and show sympathy.
“Our call center is fielding questions from ‘is it safe to attend a funeral’ to ‘what can I send to support a friend as I don’t want to attend a funeral,’” says Michael Schimmel, CEO Sympathy Brands. “Our industry partners are concerned about their businesses as people might postpone burials and memorials, but they also want guidance on how to assist their clients who are grieving.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, “A funeral or visitation can be held for a person who has died of Covid-19,” however local community rules may differ. Given the circumstances it’s often elderly people who attend funerals and that age group is particularly vulnerable to the Coronavirus.
In addition to significant cleaning, hand washing and readily available hand sanitizer, Sympathy Brands is encouraging funeral homes to increase spacing between chairs in the chapel or to remove chairs for standing-room-only services, provide an option for webcasting funeral services, and offer outdoor graveside services.
In addition, Sympathy Brands’ shiva.com and eCondolence.com offer technology platforms to funeral homes and cemeteries that help organize each burial allowing the family to organize and communicate with their support systems about any specific funeral plans or aftercare sympathy needs such as contributions, food, or donations. These platforms also provide critical educational information about religious and cultural customs, appropriate verbal and written condolence messages, suggested sympathy and commemorative gifts, and health and wellness safety measures.
“We have customers who would typically attend a funeral, asking if it’s appropriate to only send a sympathy gift,” says Schimmel. “We’re spending a lot of time reassuring the customer that it’s understandable why they’re not attending a funeral and then helping to select an appropriate gift basket or commemorative product and craft a thoughtful condolence message.
About Sympathy Brands
The Sympathy Brands family includes shiva.com, eCondolence.com and cemetery.com that help every step of the way through one of life’s most challenging moments. Utilizing Sympathy Brand’s highly curated strategic partner network, businesses and consumers have access to best-in-class funeral homes, cemeteries, financial services firms, insurance companies, non-profits, food purveyors, memorial gifts, and caterers.
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