Family Vision Center

Iowans can again attend funerals, but with restrictions


June 1st, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — As of today (Monday), Iowans are again allowed to gather in groups of ten or more for outdoor performances and some sporting events, while minding the rules on social distancing and capacities. Iowans can also now mourn the loss of a loved one with visitations and graveside services. Suzanne Gebel, of the Iowa Funeral Directors Association, says decisions will ultimately be up to families, funeral homes and officiants.

“People will be able to line up inside again or outside again for visitations to see families, when they’ve lost a loved one,” Gebel says, “if the family so chooses, and if the funeral home so chooses to proceed that way.” Even as many activities are allowed to resume, some places of worship in Iowa remain closed and some funeral homes are setting their own restrictions. Gebel says families and funeral homes will decide what they’re comfortable doing during the pandemic.

“It depends on the community, quite honestly, because we have communities and areas of Iowa that have been very majorly impacted, were hotspots for a long time,” Gebel says. “It feels to me that those areas are proceeding with a lot of caution.” Even as more activities are allowed to resume, some funeral homes are explicitly urging mourners to not hug or shake hands, or they’re asking elderly Iowans to avoid in-person services entirely.

(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)