Updated Covid Funeral Policies

Updated polices on December 21, 2020: Calling hours/Wakes held indoors are not allowed in the funeral home. Final viewing may occur one household at a time at the funeral home, and will be at the discretion of each funeral home.

Funeral/Memorial Services Held in Religious Settings

While broadly stated group-based ceremonies and activities relating to wakes and funerals are not allowed indoors, if a funeral is taking place at a house of worship, capacity is limited to 25% of standard capacity, with a maximum of 125 people. People must be able to maintain physical distance when seated – i.e., minimum of six feet of physical distance between groups of people from different households. All people must stay six feet away from each other and wear masks. Anyone who is sick or has symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend.

Auxiliary staff/officiants, including pall bearers, clergy, funeral director, honor guards, bag piper, bugler, and organist are included in the capacity limit.

If funeral services are performed in a way that limits capacities to 25% and ensures proper physical distancing, individuals from out of state can attend the funeral. If an out-of-state visitor intends to stay in Rhode Island for any length of time beyond the funeral and they are coming from a location with a high community spread rate as set forth on a list maintained by RIDOH on its website, they must either self-quarantine for 14 days while in Rhode Island or until they leave the state, whichever is sooner, or produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.

Funeral/Memorial Services Held Outside or at Graveside

No more than 15 people can attend an outdoor gravesite service. All people must stay six feet away from each other and wear a mask. Anyone who is sick or has symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend.

Auxiliary staff/officiants, including pall bearers, clergy, funeral director, honor guards, bag piper, bugler, and organist are not included in the capacity limit; however, auxiliary staff/officiants must remain 12 feet away from mourners and wear a cloth face covering that covers their mouth and nose. Pall bearers should return to their vehicles once the casket is positioned at the gravesite unless they are part of the 15 funeral attendees.

If funeral services are performed in a way that limits gatherings to 15 people and ensures proper physical distancing, individuals from out of state can attend the funeral. Non-essential travel to Rhode Island is discouraged, but not prohibited. If an out-of-state visitor attends the funeral and then immediately returns to their home state, they do not need to self-quarantine.

 If an out-of-state visitor intends to stay in Rhode Island for any length of time beyond the funeral and they are coming from another state with a COVID-19 positivity rate of 5% or greater, they will either have to self-quarantine for 14 days while in Rhode Island or until they leave the state, whichever is sooner, or produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.

-taken from the RIDOH statement to the RI Funeral Homes with minor modifications for readability. KE

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