Coronavirus concerns even affect the way we honor the dead

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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) Efforts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in Central Texas and around the country are even affecting the way the dead are honored, a Belton funeral home owner said Wednesday.

Efforts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in Central Texas and around the country are even affecting the way the dead are honored, a local funeral home owner said Wednesday. (Photo by Alex Gibbs)

"I had a lady today who chose cremation," said Jarrah Crotty with Crotty Funeral Services in Belton.

"She's decided to wait and do a service later once everything's over with."

On Monday the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that funeral services attended by fewer than 50 people may still take place, but the agency suggested limiting attendance to select family members and providing a livestream for those who cannot attend.

Those who are ill and at-risk from the virus should be encouraged to stay home, the CDC said.

But later the same day, the White House released presidential guidelines that included avoidance of gatherings of groups of more than 10.

"The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America - 15 Days to Slow the Spread,” indicates attendance at viewings and services should be further limited.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, some funeral homes are scaling back contact with families, keeping outside doors open so those attending a service can be prevented from touching the knob, and offering free or reduced-cost streaming.

"Everyone that comes in contact with us, we do treat them like they've been infected with something already," Crotty said.

"We've just been a little bit more cautious on cleaning, very cautious on making sure that we're wearing all of our protective gear."

Crotty says that while no one has died yet from the coronavirus in Bell County, her staff is fully prepared and will do whatever is necessary.

"Whenever someone passes away with the Coronavirus, we have to go to the house, we have to take care of the deceased and we have to honor their lives no matter what happens."