Area funeral homes do their best to adapt to new COVID-19 guidelines


Local funeral homes we talked to are trying to maintain social distancing while supporting grieving families

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There have been many changes over the past few weeks and many are concerned about what the new stay-at-home order means for funerals.

As if planning a funeral wasn’t hard enough already, COVID-19 is making the process even more difficult.

“The biggest obstacles, we feel, has been for the families,” said Terry Reardon, funeral director at Higgins-Reardon Funeral Home in Austintown. “It’s a very difficult time to deal with in the first place and then to add the difficult scheduling to that might make it a little more stressful, but we try to make ourselves the easy part of the equation.”

Reardon said they have been sticking to all the guidelines set by the governor, even spacing out seats to accommodate social distancing.

Down the street at Lane Funeral Homes, they are also taking social distancing seriously.

“We’re doing everything over the phone,” Dave Knarr said. “We have the ability to email all of our documents that we need to send to a family. In the case that we can’t do that, we’ll hand-deliver paperwork and then go over arrangements on the phone.”

Lane’s viewing room is typically one big room but now there is a divider up, splitting the space into two viewing areas. This way, there can be one viewing while the other room is properly sanitized for the next one.

The funeral home has also switched around employees’ schedules, making sure the work can still be done while prioritizing everyone’s health.

“We just tried to allow greater distance between people and less interaction between each other and the public,” Joseph Lane said.

While funeral homes continue to adjust their procedures, they stay committed to serving people through their toughest days.

“We’ll be there when you need us most and this is the time when people need us most,” Reardon said.

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