Editor’s Note: This article is part of BeaverCountian.com’s ongoing series, “The Beaver County Coronavirus Chronicles,” the county’s historical experience of the pandemic. Click here to see more of the series.
When Bob Matich sat down to help a family make funeral arrangements for their loved one on Thursday, he did two things he was not accustomed to doing: he didn’t shake anyone’s hand, and he sat at the other end of the conference table at Bohn-Matich Funeral Home and Cremation Services Inc. in Ambridge.
Such is making funeral arrangements during the coronavirus pandemic, where Matich was ready to recommend a private visitation. The state Funeral Homes Association on Tuesday issued guidelines recommending either no viewings or limiting them to gatherings of no more than 10 people.
As it turned out, the members of the small family said, “We don’t want anyone coming in here and affecting us,” and opted for that very thing.
And he said there was a slight chuckle from the clients when they told Matich their mother never wanted a visitation anyway, adding, “This (coronavirus) makes it easier to follow Mom’s wishes.”
Another set of clients chose no visitation at all for their loved one, just a private Roman Catholic Mass. Matich said the Catholic Church currently recommends not publicizing the time of Masses of Christian Burial in local newspapers to prevent additional family and friends from attending and possibly exposing or being exposed to the virus.
So far, the Bohn-Matich Funeral Home has not had clients asking for normal visitation, but if they did, the funeral home is prepared to limit groups of mourners to 10 at a time according to the recent recommendations, Matich said. Other visitors can wait in their cars or elsewhere.
“We’ll say, ‘Please pay your respects and move on; be kind enough to let others in,’” Matich said. “Some people can linger for three hours.”
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