Fitzhenry Wiefels Funeral Home Coronavirus Update

We have entered unprecedented times with COVID-19 in the United States, and this means that the way that we mourn, celebrate and honor those who have died will change. Even a few short weeks ago it would have  been hard to imagine that we would ever find ourselves in a situation where such change and disruption was necessary. Death, something that is already devastating, may feel more confusing, more rushed, and emptier. One thing that has not changed is our staff’s commitment to compassionate care of every family that we serve. We are dedicated to finding new ways to help those we serve navigate the murky waters of grief during this exceptional time.

Funeral directors have always been beacons of calm and comfort in uncertain times - if anything, we know our families need that from us now more than ever. We will do our best to guide you through these times as safely and calmly as we can. Our hope is that in this public health crisis, we can continue to offer the space and the emotional resources to help you cope with loss as you deal with the added anxiety that the coronavirus pandemic brings. 

Our team will continue to serve our community by providing essential mortuary services such as transportation, phone arrangements, burial and cremation services. However, for the time being, we have suspended all in-person services. We will be encouraging large services once this is all behind us. 


What are the new ways that you are allowing families to have services?

The state of California has mandated a shelter in place order. In order to comply with that ruling, we are limiting in-person interaction in our offices, and have dedicated ourselves to finding new safe ways for families to  remember those who have died and begin to heal from the loss of their loved ones. Family members will be allowed to view their loved one via private webcast. Families may opt for direct burial or cremation, and schedule a celebration of life event for a future date. Families may choose to have us keep their loved one in our care until the time comes when we can safely hold a service without restrictions (additional fees will apply for this service). 

Families are strongly encouraged to arrange for burials or cremations with us over the phone and via our safe and secure e-signature platform. If this is not possible, we will obtain as much information as we can via phone, and will schedule a time for in-person arrangements. Our goal is to space out visitors to our office so that we have time to disinfect and sanitize properly between visits.

At this time, we have made the tough decision to prioritize public health over anything else. Our goal is always to help families work through grief and loss, and so we currently have a solution for private live streaming, and will be working with families on this option. We will continue to offer our web-site obituary pages at no-cost to our families so they can share memories, photos, and details about their loved ones. We can help create and embed videos on the tribute pages, so that family and friends can view safely from home and add their own memories. 


How are the funeral directors at Fitzhenry-Wiefels Funeral Homes trained to handle crises such as this one?

Infectious disease has been a part of our profession for many years and our directors and embalmers are informed and educated on this subject matter. For embalmers, a good portion of their training is understanding the human body and how it is affected by dangerous viruses and bacteria. Our knowledge of the procedures and techniques required to keep ourselves and the public safe were in place long before this crisis. We’re trained on the use of personal protective equipment and are diligent in its use and application. Knowledge is the key to understanding how any disease is transmitted. Reducing the risk of being exposed is paramount.

We are working with our local clergy and community officials to discuss how we can continue to provide solace while staying safe. We are members of industry associations who are closely following recommendations from CDC, OSHA, the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, county requirements, city requirements, and much more. In our commitment to keeping our communities safe, we will be leaders in times of tragedy and uncertainty.

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