OSKALOOSA — When a loved one passes and planning the funeral becomes your responsibility, the last thing you want to think about is which 10 relatives deserve to say their goodbyes the most.

The threat and fear of spreading COVID-19 has changed the way many businesses and organizations operate, funeral homes are no exception. As of March 16, Bates Funeral Chapel, Langkamp Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Fremont Funeral Chapel and Holland Coble Funeral Home have all placed limits on the number of people allowed to be present for all funerals and celebration of life gatherings.

The four business released this statement to the Herald:

“During this time of uncertainty, in regards to COVID-19, we here at the funeral chapels have been forced to change the way we hold funeral services. As a public gathering place, we must first look out for the safety of our community. As of March 16, the Governor of the State of Iowa has mandated that a 10 person maximum be placed on all public gatherings. This is to stay in effect for 15 days. On April 1, 2020, there will be a new assessment of the situation and the 10 person maximum could be raised, or it could remain in effect until further notice.”

The message goes one to address how difficult it is to lose a loved one, without the added stress of having to decide who gets to pay their respects in person. The business are suggesting a number of alternatives for those grieving to extend their sympathies to the families affected.

“A few ways to honor a loved one and their family at the time of death include, sending a flower/plant to the service, sending a gift to the designated memorial, writing a message on the Funeral Home Website to the family or sending a card that expresses your sympathy,” the message reads.

The businesses also released a separate statement on their respective websites and Facebook pages communicating that they will remain in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Assisting families and friends with loss is our privilege and honor as funeral directors. Given the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know that funeral directors throughout Iowa are taking precautions to limit exposure to the coronavirus. We are still operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week making certain that those entrusted to our care and the families we serve are receiving uninterrupted service and attention, regardless of the cause of death.”

Tiffany McDaniel can be reached by phone at (641) 660–9659, by email at tmcdaniel@oskyherald.com or on Twitter @tmcdaniel_osky.

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