For the past nine months, funeral homes in Green Country have adjusted their protocols. They said it’s important to help families safely say their goodbyes.
Funeral homes that News On 6 checked with said they have been busier than usual. They said they are keeping service size limits and hours as needed to stay in compliant with restrictions and safety guidelines.
Steve Lovellette is a Tulsa native living in Arizona and planning his mother Carma Lovellette's funeral arrangements in Tulsa while he is infected with COVID-19.
"So, I can't even make the trip and have closure with my mother,” said Lovellette. “I'm also a pastor. I was planning to do the memorial service and the graveside and had to hand that off to a friend."
Joe Moore, owner of Moore and Fitzgerald Funeral Homes, said the pandemic has disrupted the industry.
"There was a time when we were not allowed to have funerals at all for about a month, then we were able to have only 10 people at a funeral, and then the restrictions loosened and we could have larger numbers, up to 500 and so forth, and now there's a requirement that they can have only 150," explained Moore.
Moore said at his six funeral homes around Tulsa, staff have provided services for more than 80 people who died from COVID-19.
He said most families are choosing smaller gatherings, longer visitation hours to spread out the number of people and the use of technology.
"We're doing a lot of our arrangements remotely, FaceTime, Zoom, just by telephone and email,” said Moore. “The webcasting has been a tremendous benefit."
As for the Lovellette family, they will have Mrs. Lovellette's graveside service Dec. 3 at Memorial Park, and then delay her memorial service indefinitely.
"What we planned to do was since my father is aging and not doing well, we're going to delay my mother's until my father passes," said Lovellette.
Moore and Fitzgerald Funeral Homes said staff have universal precautions that have been in place for years for communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and COVID-19.