Cremation Options During COVID-19

There’s been no other year in recent history like 2020. Life has become more complicated due to the current pandemic. While we can’t promise that your loved one’s end-of-life service won’t be affected by the coronavirus, please know that Alabama Funeral Homes & Cremation Centers is ready to serve your family regardless of our community’s COVID-19 numbers. 

Even though we are still providing the same quality service, we are doing so while being acutely aware of what is happening in our community, country, and world. We would like to take a moment to discuss cremations during COVID-19. We’ll give you a quick overview of end-of-life service options during a pandemic. We will also review some of the cremation laws that have been in effect since before the virus spread.

Cremations During COVID-19

Scientists are still working on learning about the coronavirus. While there is a lot that is yet to be discovered, we have received guidance from government agencies on what our industry can do to keep families safe. In July, the Center for Disease Control released, “What do funeral home workers need to know about handling decedents who had COVID-19?.” Here’s what we’ve learned. 

We learned that “decedents with COVID-19 can be buried or cremated.” We also learned that the safety guidelines we already had in place were appropriate for handling decedents with the coronavirus. This means that regardless of whether your loved one died while infected with the coronavirus or passed away from some other cause, we can safely transport the body to our facility and complete the cremation or burial process.

If you lost a loved one and would like to talk with one of our grief experts, fill out this contact form or call 334-605-9148. 

Our staff will be able to discuss the most current safety standards that are in place in our community and how this may affect your loved one’s funeral.

Funerals During COVID-19

One of the most painful results of the COVID-19 pandemic is that social distancing guidelines make it difficult to gather family, friends, and community members together for funerals. Our hearts ache with you since we witness the frustration and pain caused by these guidelines every day. 

As difficult as it is to have your loved one’s funeral disrupted by COVID-19, please remember that having your loved one cremated may give you a bit more flexibility in planning an end-of-life service. If you choose the direct cremation option for your loved one, you may consider waiting until social distancing guidelines are a thing of the past to plan a funeral for your loved one.

Of course, some of the families we serve choose to have small, private funerals that allow immediate family members to attend while social distancing.

While neither of these options may seem ideal, please know that Alabama Funeral Homes is with you regardless of what you decide. As you consider what to do with your loved one’s cremated remains, here are some safety guidelines and laws to consider.

Cremation Laws Overview

Before we discuss scattering laws in Alabama, you may be wondering if it is safe to handle the cremated remains of loved ones who died while infected with the coronavirus. According to this report from the CDC, cremated remains are reduced to an ash-like substance by intense heat. This means that “cremated remains are considered to be noninfectious regardless of the cause of death.”

This means that after you receive your loved one’s remains after the cremation process occurs, you should feel comfortable keeping, burying, interring, or scattering the ashes as long as you follow state and local guidelines. With this said, here are some general guidelines regarding scattering to follow.

Private Property

No guidelines or laws keep you from scattering your loved one’s cremated remains on private property. It is wise to ask permission if you wish to scatter ashes on someone’s property that does not belong to you. 

City or County Property

If you wish to scatter the cremated remains at a local park, check the city or county zoning regulations. Most of the time, you will encounter no resistance as long as it is completed privately.

Federal Land

Scattering cremated remains on federal land, specifically land maintained by that National Park Service, requires permission.

Scattering Over Water

Alabama has miles of lovely coastline. If you would like to scatter the ashes of your loved one at sea, it must be done at least three nautical miles from shore. You must also notify the Environmental Protection Agency within 30 days of the dispersal.

You are also required to obtain permission from the state agency that manages the local waterways should you wish to scatter the cremated remains on a river or lake.

Let Our Staff Help You During This Difficult Time

We know that you probably have many specific questions regarding planning a funeral during COVID-19. Please let our staff help. Our company has served the community for decades, and we are ready to assist you during these unprecedented times.