Letter to the Editor: Continue to take vital precautions

To the Editor:

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our local businesses with many challenges. I am a local funeral director and small business owner. Like community hospitals, we have kept our funeral homes open during the pandemic to provide key services to the public. During these confusing and challenging times, we want to assure those we serve that we are closely monitoring and following all guidelines from national and state funeral associations, and all requirements of local and state emergency services. We have asked families to keep in mind that arrangements can be made remotely online or by teleconference. If you visit our website or enter our premises, you will see a sign asking everyone to be aware of our guidelines. All must wear masks and practice social distancing at our funeral homes.

We pride ourselves on providing compassionate care for families who have lost a loved one. The requirements of sheltering in place and limitations on the number of people allowed in a facility for a funeral service or celebration of life have forced families into a stifled grieving process. Many families have decided to postpone services or not to have any at all. The process of grieving is not a simple one nor is it the same for everyone. We are available to discuss options with you. For example, we have recorded services and made them accessible on our website. But the loss of touch or physical presence of those who would like to be with you as you mourn your loss is ever present during this pandemic.

As a member of the Selected Independent Funeral Director Association, we have access to a daily blog where we can review current best practices, ask questions and give advice to other funeral directors. It has helped us not to feel quite so isolated. It has also shown us that those of us in Maine, and especially in Hancock County, are in a much better position than those in many other states that have been harder hit. We still must remember to be vigilant. The spread of the virus can happen very easily and we shouldn’t let down our guard. Living in this special place, we can become complacent and be lulled into the belief that it won’t happen here. COVID-19 is an unforgiving disease, so please continue to take these simple, but vital precautions: wear a mask, maintain social distancing and wash your hands regularly. By taking these simple actions, you can play a critical role in keeping our community safe during this pandemic.

Lauri E. Fernald, CFSP

Jordan-Fernald, Ellsworth

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