Most of us are living different lives now than we did in the Fall of 2019. Even though COVID-19 has disrupted many of our activities, we would like you to know that Philadelphia Cremation Society is still serving families in Philadelphia and surrounding communities. This doesn’t mean that other aspects of your loved one’s funeral service won’t be affected by the pandemic.
Let’s discuss cremation during COVID-19. We’ll discuss what has changed due to the pandemic, and what has remained the same. We’ll also give you a quick overview of cremation laws that were in effect before the coronavirus was discussed daily.
Cremations During COVID-19
While there is a lot that is still unknown about the coronavirus, scientists and medical experts have released guidelines for those working in the funeral and cremation industry. The Center for Disease Control released “What do funeral home workers need to know about handling decedents who had COVID-19?” in July.
In this report, we learned that “decedents with COVID-19 can be buried or cremated.” We also learned that the safety guidelines we follow are appropriate for handling decedents with the coronavirus.
What does this mean for your family? 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 one of our facilities and complete the cremation.
If your loved one recently passed away, call one of our end-of-life experts at 610-632-1191.
Cremated Remains During COVID-19
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.”
After our cremation experts return the ashes of your loved ones to you, you are free to keep, bury, inter, or scatter them as long as you follow state and local guidelines.
If your loved one was a veteran, let experts from Philadelphia Cremation Society assist you with the veteran’s benefits that your loved one may be entitled to receive. This service is offered when you purchase either of our cremation packages.
Funerals During COVID-19
Whether you choose to inter your loved one’s cremated remains in a columbarium niche or scatter them at sea, you will probably complete this process only after the funeral service of your loved one. We know that one of the painful results of this recent pandemic is that social distancing guidelines make it difficult to gather family and friends together for funerals.
We understand how difficult it is to go through a loss without being able to receive a comforting hug from extended family members and friends at your loved one’s funeral. At the same time, it may not be prudent to have a large gathering, which would put your friends and family at risk of contracting the virus.
Some families are choosing to have private, small funeral services that allow members of the immediate family to attend while social distancing. Others are waiting to hold funeral services until it is safe to have larger gatherings again.
Regardless of what your family decides, choosing cremation over burial certainly gives you more options.
Cremation Laws Overview
Regardless of when your loved one passed away, it’s important to know the state laws regarding cremated remains for your state and local area. If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, you may be interested to know that no state laws control the storage or scattering of ashes.
With this said, there are some general guidelines to follow.
You may scatter your loved one’s cremated remains on your own private property. If you wish to scatter the ashes on someone else’s private land, you should first seek the owner’s permission.
City or County Property
Check the city or county zoning regulations if you wish to scatter your loved one’s cremated remains on city or county property. Examples of this type of property may be a city park or a county recreation area.
If you wish to scatter your loved one’s ashes on federal land, specifically land that is a part of the National Park Service, consult with a local ranger to seek permission.
Scattering at Sea
The Clean Water Act states that cremated remains may be scattered at sea, but the scattering must be done three nautical miles from shore.
Do You Have Additional Questions?
We know that you probably have other questions regarding cremation during COVID-19. As the situation seems to be changing daily, please consult with one of our grief experts at Philadelphia Cremation Society.
About Cremation Society of Philadelphia
Our compassionate staff understands that you are grieving the loss of a loved one when you call to make arrangements. The Philadelphia Cremation Society provides a needed service and we do it with compassion, patience, and understanding. We know that you are experiencing a traumatic moment with the passing of your loved one. We will do everything in our power to make the final arrangements go smoothly.
If you need immediate assistance in Philadelphia, Ardmore, North Wales, and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania, call 610-632-1191, or fill out this online contact form and request “immediate help.” Our staff is ready to help, no matter what time it is. Now offering support in select areas of New Jersey and Delaware.