Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home's response to the Coronavirus
While our nation continues to feel the increasing impact of the coronavirus, we are still available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We remain committed to helping families honor the lives of their loved ones through meaningful services and gatherings while respecting the unique challenges brought by the Coronavirus.
Our response to immediate needs and scheduled services is flexible. At this time, the CDC and the National Funeral Directors Association have advised that traditional visitations and funeral services can safely continue with size limitations.
We provide the following options for your care and safety in response to the Coronavirus:
- Funeral Live Streaming allows your loved one's services to be broadcast live over the internet to everyone or to a select audience.
- Online Memorial Tributes allow individuals to sign, leave comments and post pictures of loved ones.
- Private in-person viewings of 10 people or less followed by graveside ceremonies
- Drive-thru visitations to accommodate 10 or more people. Allowing individuals to remain in their cars.
- If called upon, we will diligently seek alternative options for the ceremony of your choosing.
As with all matters, we are approaching the Coronavirus pandemic and its ramifications by educating ourselves with all of the available facts, disseminating those facts to our staff and the public and taking necessary precaution. The health of your loved ones and ours has been at the forefront of our minds as we have worked proactively over the last few weeks to face this current challenge.
Information unfolds about the Coronavirus almost hourly. There are many aspects of it that we are still learning about. Check our website often for current information.
How is our staff dealing with it?
Most importantly, our licensed funeral directors and embalmers are continually educated on communicable and infectious disease. Our continuing education infrastructure requires us to annually apprise ourselves of the latest risk factors, as well as safe and strategic handling of remains using universal precautions. But again, knowledge is key to understanding how the disease is transmitted to help reduce the chance of being exposed or infected. We are following CDC best practices throughout our facility.
WHAT MEASURES ARE WE TAKING WITHIN OUR FACILITY TO INCREASE THE SAFETY OF OUR EMPLOYEES, FAMILIES, AND THEIR GUESTS?
- We have increased the frequency of disinfecting all areas (including wiping down doors, door frames, and handles, light switches, public restrooms, telephones, pens, keyboards, etc.)
- We have instructed our staff to remain home when they are sick, throw used tissue in the trash immediately and thoroughly washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Additionally, we encourage all to cover their mouth and nose with the insides of their elbows when they cough or sneeze.
- We have adopted social distancing practices by limiting arrangement conferences to 4 family members. When we greet one another, we encourage our staff and families in our care to refrain from hugging, kissing or shaking hands.
- We are complying with governmental restrictions regarding public gatherings.
In addition, all employees will continue to follow CDC best-practice guidelines to prevent the spread of viruses and we encourage our families and guests to do the same: Stay at home when you are sick. Wash hands frequently. Cover mouth with tissues when coughing or sneezing. Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
WHAT ARE WE DOING TO ENSURE THE COMMUNITY IS SAFE AT FUNERALS?
We are speaking with local clergy and community officials to discuss how we can work together in recognizing the threats with coronavirus. Funerals are for the living, and we will be diligent in our response during this pandemic to ensure the well being of the families we serve, the greater community, and our staff.
As for gatherings for funeral and celebrations of life services, we will continue to follow guidelines and restrictions set by the State of Maryland. Although we take great pride in offering well-maintained and clean facilities, we are taking greater measures with careful attention to areas of frequent contact by others such as doorknobs, phones, and faucets. We will be active during gatherings by monitoring and disinfecting areas frequented. We will assure there are plenty of tissues for visitors, antibacterial soaps or wipes, and sanitizer gel readily available. As we mentioned, this pandemic is new to all of us, so if you have helpful suggestions, we are more than willing to listen.
May 15, 2020
Effective May 15, 2020 at 5 pm, in accordance with guidance set out by the Governor and local authorities we will reopen gatherings and services to the public at 50% capacity. We stand committed to ensuring the safety of our communities. Our staff will remain extremely attentive to the cleanliness of our facilities and will provide ample access to disinfecting stations for our guests.
March 30, 2020
With Governor Hogan’s most recent announcement of “stay at home orders,” we have learned that funeral arrangements and services fall under the “Essential” category and therefore are exempt from the order. We will continue to follow the State guidelines of keeping all gatherings to fewer than ten people. We also encourage the use of technology during these uncertain times and offer phone and video arrangements/services. Please contact us for a “Letter of Attendance” if desired for travel to and from the funeral home.
March 19, 2020
Per the State of Maryland, at this time, public gatherings are limited to ten people. We understand the difficulty this decision imposes on families trying to arrange services, but we remain committed to slowing the spread of COVID-19. Please reach out to us with any questions of concerns regarding what options exist.
MARCH 18, 2020 - PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Fellows, Helfenbein and Newnam Funeral Home is working diligently within Federal and State guidelines to continue to provide the utmost care while respecting the health concerns now facing the community. We would like to assure every family that we will continue to respond immediately when our services are needed, and are committed to providing every family with the professional and personal care they have come to expect. While gatherings over 50 people are not permitted at the moment, rest assured that small private viewings, burial and cremation may still be carried out. We also offer a wide variety of technological solutions if individuals are not able to be present. In an effort to ensure that every family receives the comfort and support of others that is so essential when a death occurs, we will offer complementary use of our facilities for a memorial and/or gathering at a date and time when it is once again safe to do so.
Please feel free to reach out to any of our locations with questions. We stand committed to offering 24/7 continued care to our community.