Local funeral homes implement protocol changes in response to COVID-19
DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Funeral home operations are one of the services impacted by the changing COVID-19 landscape. “The current situation of COVID-19 is changing on a daily basis. The Wagg Funeral Home and the whole funeral industry are working with and taking direction [from] local, provincial and federal governments. Along with the Bereavement Authority of Ontario and the Ontario Funeral Service Association, the funeral industry is still offering the highest quality of services,” Mark Fletcher of Wagg Funeral Home, in Port Perry, told The Standard. Mr. Fletcher talked about how staffing protocols have changed due to COVID-19. “As funeral directors, we are trained in universal precautions and we follow them at all times. The Wagg Funeral Home has four licensed funeral directors that worked together Monday to Friday, in response to the COVID-19 the staff has been divided into two teams,” he said, adding they are following proper procedures to “protect ourselves and continue to offer services to our families.” He touched on funeral event protocols. “We are asking families when they come in for arrangements to limit family members for the arrangement conference to two people and respect the distancing as outlined by the government. Funerals are being limited to a maximum of 10 people, and again they must respect the social distancing. Many families are requesting graveside services.” Mr. Fletcher stressed cemetery burials are continuing during this time. “Cemeteries are still doing burials. Cemeteries and funeral homes have been directed by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario not to delay burials or cremations. Cemeteries are also limiting their contact with families and once again are limiting service to a 10 person maximum,” he said. Mr. Fletcher explained people have been receptive to the changes. “Our families have been very appreciative of the protocols, as they realize that it is for their protection as well as ours.” Though he said currently there is “no financial assistance available to families directly related to COVID-19” for funding funerals, Mr. Fletcher noted the Canada pension death benefit and the survivors’ benefit are both still “available to families and spouses of the deceased.” Wagg Funeral Home encourages people who have more questions to contact them at 905-985-2171.