Families delay laying loved ones to rest

By Leandra Rolle

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

MAJOR funeral homes across the country are seeing an increase of families either cancelling or postponing memorial services because of the COVID-19 pandemic, president of the Bahamas Funeral Directors Association Kirsch Ferguson said yesterday.

“Families, being fully aware of what we are faced with, are opting to postpone services until I guess they see this thing subside,” he told The Tribune. “But, as it stands right now, most families are not proceeding with funeral services.

“Those who are (having funerals) are going strictly by the guidelines as the funeral director has been instructed and that’s what we’re faced with at this time.”

After the country recorded its first COVID-19 case, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis imposed several strict measures in the country in an effort to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Under Dr Minnis emergency orders, for example, people are banned from attending social events and funerals with the exception of ten immediate family members and at least one officiant and essential mortuary staff.

Asked how this impacts day-to-day business in the industry, Mr Ferguson replied: “They are being impacted, but at the same time we’re like any business, but for us we’re on call 24 hours so if they’re calling to service, we have to respond accordingly.

“Even our normal routine of handling services in terms of having payment through insurance companies and the National Insurance Board, all of those have been impacted by this whole situation.

“Even though complaints are there, there’s nothing you can really do. If insurance companies are closed down and if National Insurance is just getting back, then we have to follow suit.”

Mr Ferguson said BFDA fully supports every effort made by the government to keep the Bahamian public safe.

“In the general sense, while we might hear some things among personnel in the industry, it’s simply classified as opinion but the truth of it is that we are 100 percent behind the initiative that the government is taking and we fully support every effort to keep everyone safe.”