Funeral homes stream services online to comply with COVID-19 crowd bans

(The Center Square) – One new reality of life amidst the coronavirus pandemic is streaming funeral services online.

As many states have put restrictions on gatherings, funerals are evolving to still allow loved ones to memorialize while keeping a safe distance.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered guidance for attending funerals, saying there’s no danger in being in the presence of someone who has died from COVID-19, but guidance on crowd restrictions mean well-wishers are possibly putting themselves in danger and, in some states, breaking executive orders. In a conference call with funeral directors, a CDC representative instructed services to be limited to core family and streamed online for others, according to the BBC.

A number of companies that had already offered video streaming services have shifted their advertising efforts to include people searching online for “funeral live streaming” solutions.

Others are offering the service as a value-add to funeral homes, mortuaries, and other places of mourning.

“They’re currently conducting gravesites using this service as well as virtual memorial services,” said Michael Schimmel, CEO of eCondolence.com and Shiva.com.

Schimmel launched “Viewneral” last week and is offering the video streaming service to existing customers.

“We have found that families are seeing this as a really effective and helpful way for them to actually maintain and have a little bit of normalcy in a time that is very unsettling,” Schimmel said.

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