Continuing education; promoting high ethical standards; providing advocacy

Covid-19 Updates

Your AFCCA is monitoring the Covid-19 situation closely and will keep our members updated as it is release pertaining to the Funeral Industry.

Additional Resources

NFDA Covid-19 Page  ICCFA Covid-19 Page  CDC Website  ADHS Website

AFCCA Recommended Best Practices

AFCCA has taken best practices and ideas from other states and what many of our own Funeral Homes in Arizona are implementing. Without a direct mandate from the state, it is up to each establishment to create their own protocol when dealing with Covid-19. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what should be done in order to keep yourselves, your employees and your families safe. Please feel free to use and share any of the information in the documents below.

 

Please Read: AZ Funeral Board – COVID 19 Industry Update 4-2-20

 

Covid-19 Best Practices for Funeral Homes, Cemeteries and Crematories

COVID-19_Embalming Best Practices

Dignity Memorial/SCI Phoenix shared with us their cleaning protocols they have implemented:

Maintenance Dept COVID Protocol (3-23-20)

Office and Common Areas COVID Protocol (3-23-20)

List of Funeral Webcasting Businesses (Not endorsed by AFCCA or NFDA)


April 5, 2020 Updates

NFDA Calls For Volunteers To Work In COVID-19 Hot Spots

 

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is asking for volunteers who can travel to COVID-19 “hot spots” experiencing high death rates in order to lend on-the-ground assistance.

 

Given the likelihood that the COVID-19 pandemic will get worse before it gets better, NFDA is asking for members and other funeral service professionals who can assist in areas where infections and deaths are rapidly climbing. NFDA plans to maintain a list of volunteers who can mobilize quickly should it receive federal, state and/or local requests for assistance.

 

Funeral service professionals willing to volunteer can click here to fill out a form (https://www.nfda.org/covid-19/help-needed). The form asks potential volunteers to be as specific as possible with the kind of assistance and expertise they can offer. (Funeral service professionals who have already volunteered on the NFDA website do not need to provide their information again.)

 

NFDA anticipates providing volunteers deployment information sometime within the next few weeks, if not sooner. Specific information on locations, licensure reciprocity, expense reimbursement and travel will be provided prior to volunteer deployment.

 

“NFDA wants to thank all funeral professionals for being on the front lines during this pandemic,” says Christine Pepper, CAE, chief executive officer. “Please know that NFDA stands ready to support funeral directors everywhere – NFDA member or not – so funeral service professionals can carry out their mission. In the words of statesman William Ewart Gladstone, ‘Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead. I will measure exactly the sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.’”

 


April 3, 2020 Updates

NFDA and the Funeral Service Foundation Announce Lead Contributions Totaling $250,000 to Foundation’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund

 

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the Funeral Service Foundation are delighted to announce their lead contributions totaling $250,000 to the Foundation’s newly-announced COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund, which will help funeral service professionals and organizations working throughout the country in areas that are disproportionately impacted by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

NFDA’s lead gift of $50,000 on behalf of its members and the Foundation’s $200,000 allocation will go a long way toward ensuring funeral professionals have the resources they need to respond to the needs of families and communities.

“Funeral directors are on the front lines of this pandemic, working to ensure everyone who dies is cared for with respect and dignity,” said NFDA President R. Bryant Hightower Jr., CFSP. “NFDA is proud to support their heroic efforts with this gift. We also recognize the significant impact that limited funerals and delayed services have on families’ grief journey. We are pleased that our gift will help bolster resources to help families heal during this time of uncertainty.”

“The Foundation’s Board of Trustees launched this fund with the understanding that funeral service is already responding to the crisis in a big way and will need tremendous support to continue to do so effectively,” said Foundation Chair Anthony Guerra of Guerra & Gutierrez Mortuaries in Los Angeles. “The Foundation’s Crisis Fund allocation underscores our enduring commitment to all of funeral service.”

 

About the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund

The COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund has two pillars of support: emergency assistance and grief support. Designed to be flexible, the fund will provide grants for immediate needs within funeral service including emergency response to significant loss of life; grants to organizations providing services and resources to families with unresolved and complicated grief due to loss during this crisis; and grants for other important needs as funeral service continues to serve families during this rapidly evolving crisis.

 

The Foundation expects to announce details on how to apply for grants from the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund in the coming days.

 

The Foundation is counting on the funeral service community to respond generously and help at this unprecedented time of need and uncertainty. One-time or monthly gifts at every level can be made online at www.FuneralServiceFoundation.org. Those interested in supporting may also send checks, made payable to the Funeral Service Foundation to the FSF COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund, 13625 Bishop’s Drive, Brookfield, WI 53005, or call 1-262-814-1549 to make a gift by phone.

 

Update: COVID-19 & Embalming – CDC Stands By its Recommendations

Important Advisories:

Your local and/or state public health officials may be making recommendations that are more stringent than what the CDC has recommended. In these cases, you should defer to your state and/or local public health officials.

The CDC guidance represents the minimum precautions a funeral professional should take while caring for the body of someone who died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19. You should use your best professional judgement to determine whether you should take additional precautions beyond what is recommended by the CDC.

On April 1, NFDA shared information regarding alternate guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) on embalming individuals who died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19. NFDA immediately reached out to the CDC to clarify what guidance funeral professionals in the United States should follow.
Today, NFDA learned the CDC stands by its recommendation that pandemic victims can be safely embalmed so long as the funeral professional follows proper safety protocols.

Read more information about the CDC’s specific recommendations


April 2, 2020 Updates

Alternative PPE Resource

SURGICAL MASKS & KN95 (CDC Approved alternative to N95) –Due to ship next week!
Please allow me an opportunity to introduce you to TNG Worldwide/The Industry Source. During this trying time, our company, one of the country’s largest suppliers of spa and beauty operational supplies and in business for 35 years, has refocused from its core business selling to spas and salons to help those most in need. We have been working 24/7 to be able to provide medical facilities with and assortment of KN95 masks and other pertinent items.  If you are in need or know someone looking for sources, please feel free to pass on this information about our company. My contact info is below. We are ONLY selling to the medical/first responder/funeral community at this time.
As of last week, we are now able to provide the medical field these much needed items. For expediency of getting items to you quickly, we can accept credit cards or ACH (electronic checks) for payment. We cannot offer term payments. Shipment is from our New Hudson Michigan corporate headquarters and shipping lead times will be dependent on your location. We generally ship via Fed Ex Ground (on orders which weigh less than 300#).  Images available upon request.
1.   #110332 3 Ply Medical Masks – $29.99/box of 50
Offers maximum comfort, protection and ease of use. Medical quality with a bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE)of greater than 99%. 3-Ply construction with soft, fluid resistant nonwoven outer layers and highly absorbent inner layer. Fiberglass and latex free. Hypoallergenic. Blue  (ETA is the 2nd week of April )
2.   #110350 ForPro KN95 Face Mask ($32.50/box of 10 OR $28 when you purchase 50 boxes or more):
ForPro KN95 Face Mask is an industry standard and filters 95% of particle with a mass median diameter of 0.3 micrometers. This provides protections from PM10, PM2.5 and even smaller particles. CDC Approved alternative. Individually-wrapped.  Pre-order now for guaranteed delivery as soon as they become available (ETA is the 2nd week of April ).
3.   #110351 Advanced Hand Sanitizer 4.0 Oz ($4.00 each):
ForPro Hand Sanitizer helps to reduce bacteria on skin, kills most germs that may cause illness and leaves hands feeling soft. Contains 60% ethyl alcohol. Meets FDA healthcare personnel hand-washing requirements. Made in Italy. 4 oz. Available late April – Pre order now (minimum 13 bottles)
4.   #111027 ForPro Alcohol-Free Foam Hand Sanitizer 18oz ($10.99 each)
ForPro Alcohol-Free Foaming Instant Hand Sanitizer kills 99.99% of many common harmful germs and bacteria in as little as 15 seconds. Made with Benzalkonium Chloride (BAK) and contains conditioners to soothe and moisturize hands. Extra-large, 18-ounce size is economical compared to non-foaming products. Alcohol, dye and fragrance free (limit 12 – larger quantities upon approval)
5.   #110352 New ForPro Hand Sanitizer Spray, FDA approved formula. 8 oz. ($6.99)
Isopropyl Alcohol 75%Topical Solution (ETA is the 2nd week of April) Gallons will be available for $89.99
6.   #111028 ForPro Multi-Cide Hospital Grade Disinfectant – 1 gallon (makes 128 gallons of disinfectant- $39.99 each):
ForPro MULTI-CIDE Hospital Grade Sanitizer & Disinfectant is a bactericidal, fungicide, and virucidal cleaner. It is EPA registered and effective against athlete’s foot fungus, Aspergillus niger, Hepatitis B & C, HIV-1 and other viruses. The anti-rust formulation prevents corrosion of implements and hard surfaces. Dilution is 1-ounce per gallon.
7.   #111024 ForPro Citrus-Cide Hospital Grade Disinfectant Cleaner – 1 gallon ($21.99 each):
Citrus-Cide cleans and deodorizes in one easy step. Works on all hard, non-porous surfaces as a disinfectant, bactericide, virucide, and fungicide cleaner EPA Registered. Available for immediate shipment.
8.   #140258 ForPro 99% Alcohol 32 oz ($12.99 each):
99% Alcohol is recommended for medical, beauty and general use as recommended by a manufacturer to use 99% isopropyl alcohol by volume. Cools, cleanses, and dehydrates. No inert ingredients. Unscented. Note: This product can be shipped via ground only. 32 oz. . Available for immediate shipment.
9.   #193132 – Barbicide Wipes – 160 ct. ($13.99)
12 maximum -Barbicide Wipes Disinfectant are for all non-porous surfaces. EPA-registered and proven effective against TB, MRSA, HIV-1, and Hepatitis B. Proven effective against HIV-1, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Clostridium Difficile, MRSA, Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE), Herpes, Influenza (including H1N1), “Athletes Foot” (Tinea Pedis) and Mycobacterium Tuberculosis -• Complies with OSHA’s blood borne pathogens standard-• U.S. EPA-registered hospital-grade, broad-spectrum disinfectant
10. #800024 –Gym Wipes Antibacterial 700ct $44.99
GymWipes Antibacterial Wipes 2XL-101 Refill are EPA registered and antimicrobial. Eliminates bacteria in 4 minutes while disinfecting and deodorizing with a fresh scent. Bleach-free, Alcohol-free, Phenol-free.
11. #800022- Gym Wipes Advantage 3600ct $119.99
GymWipes Advantage Wipes 2XL-36 are FDA registered and antimicrobial. Cleans and sanitizes in one easy step. Non-Alcohol based that cleans dirt, sweat, body oils from all surfaces and neutralizes odors. 900-ct. Case of 4.
Lisa Bessette
Account Representative
The Industry Source- a division of TNG Worldwide
Office/Mobile: 949-735-1969
Call Center: 800-362-6245

April 1, 2020 Updates

Embalming & COVID-19

As you know, the CDC has issued guidance indicating that embalming confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases is safe, so long as funeral professionals take precautions such as wearing proper PPE and making every possible effort to minimize splashing and aerosolization of fluids. Recognized embalming experts have offered their suggestions for how this might be accomplished.
Recently, NFDA found alternate guidance on embalming from the World Health Organization (WHO), another recognized organization that has been on the front lines confronting COVID-19 around the globe.
While WHO’s recommendations align with CDC guidance in important areas – bodies can be buried or cremated; there is no evidence of people becoming infected from exposure to the bodies of people who died of COVID-19; and families should avoid contact (i.e., touching, kissing, etc.) the body of the decedent – it differs on two key points:
  • Embalming is not recommended to avoid excessive manipulation of the body;
  • Adults >60 years and immunosuppressed persons should not directly interact with the body.
We share this information from WHO in the interest of full disclosure and out of concern for your safety. We also note that WHO is a global organization and embalming standards and practices around the globe may or may not match the high safety standards to which funeral professionals in the United States adhere.
NFDA is making every effort to clarify with the CDC if embalming can be done safely and whether or not older or immune-compromised people should perform this essential task.
NFDA strongly believes that embalming and viewing the body is an important part of meaningful memorialization. However, we also recognize that the safety of funeral directors and embalmers is paramount.
We urge you to seriously weigh the risks presented by embalming COVID-19 cases with the steps you have always taken to be safe while caring for the bodies of people who have died of highly-infectious diseases. Whether you are comfortable embalming a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 victim is a personal choice; you should use your best professional judgement to determine your comfort level with embalming these individuals. NFDA hopes that funeral home owners will respect the wishes of a funeral professional who is not comfortable embalming a pandemic victim, regardless of the reason.
Should you choose to continue embalming victims of the pandemic, the CDC guidance represents the minimum precautions a funeral professional should take. You should use your best professional judgement to determine whether you should take additional precautions beyond what is recommended.
While scientists have learned a lot about COVID-19 in a relatively short period of time, there are still many unknowns and guidance is evolving based on new data. As we learn of new guidance on embalming COVID-19 pandemic victims, we will share it as quickly as we can.

Recommendations for Safe Funeral Gatherings During Pandemic

A Statement from R. Bryant Hightower Jr., CFSP, President of the National Funeral Directors Association:
Brookfield, Wis. – The importance of having a funeral to honor the deceased and giving loved ones an opportunity to celebrate that life and begin to grieve is unquestioned. While the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) is deeply committed to promoting the value of a funeral, the unprecedented novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic requires the funeral profession to balance its long-held values with the need to: flatten the curve of the pandemic; protect the health of attendees, funeral home staff and clergy/celebrant; and reduce the potential for community spread and mass-fatalities.
Therefore, the association recommends that funeral homes limit the size of services to no more than 10 of the decedent’s next-of-kin until further notice.
Issuing this recommendation is a serious step – one NFDA leaders never imagined taking. However, in light of the rising rate of infection and increasing deaths, it is a step they felt was necessary to prevent community spread of and deaths due to COVID-19.
NFDA recognizes this limit will be very difficult for families who are grieving the death of a loved one, but asks for their understanding during this challenging time. Funeral directors will continue to do all they can to help families understand the options they have for commemorating the life of a loved one in a manner that is safe for everyone involved.
This guidance is based on “The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America” developed to slow the spread of COVID-19. NFDA urges funeral directors to follow these recommendations for the safety of their funeral home’s staff and the families and community they serve. NFDA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as necessary.
NFDA’s Specific Recommendations
Unless a state’s guidelines are more restrictive, NFDA strongly recommends that, until further notice, funerals be limited to no more than 10 of the decedent’s next-of-kin; this does not include funeral home staff, the clergy/celebrant or cemetery staff.
NFDA also recommends services be held at the gravesite whenever possible; however, the nature of the disposition, such cremation, may mean a service in the funeral home is more appropriate. Funeral homes should also encourage attendees to follow current social distancing guidelines by setting up seating accordingly.
NFDA encourages funeral homes to discuss federal, state and local mandates and recommendations – as well as guidelines issued by local cemeteries – with families as they are planning services.
To keep families and funeral home staff safe, NFDA has shared recommendations with funeral homes about how technology, such as video conferencing, can be used for making funeral arrangements in lieu of an in-person arrangement conference. Tools such as webcasting or livestreaming can be used to broadcast funeral or memorial services to family and friends who are unable to attend a service.
AFCCA – Arizona Specific Guidelines
Funeral Services are listed in the Governor’s EO2020-12 related to essential services. The Governor’s office has made the recommendation that if the funeral industry is wanting further clarification on whether funeral gatherings are considered under Funeral Services, you may wish to reach out to your attorneys or counsel for clarification.

Ultimately, it is up to each individual establishment (funeral home and cemetery etc.) to make the determination of whether or not they can hold funeral gatherings.AFCCA agrees with and recommends following NFDA’s Guidelines.


March 30, 2020 Updates

Arizona Governor “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” Executive Order

In today’s 2 PM press conference, Governor Ducey announced Arizona’s version of a “stay-at-home” order. The order follows a letter from the Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ (attached) recommending enhanced physical distancing measures based on the latest data from her epidemiologists, and following President Trump’s announcement yesterday that federal distancing guidelines are being extended until April 30. Read Press Release
The Governor’s order is titled “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected,” and unique to Arizona, includes a strong focus on mental health. The order encourages Arizonans to participate in outdoor activities, as long as they are accompanied by social distancing measures. Additionally, it stresses the need for “social connectedness” — a concern of public health officials, especially among our senior population and those struggling with depression and suicide.
The order exempts essential business, outlined in a previous Executive Order last Monday from the Governor, as well as essential activities, which includes outdoor activities. The order takes effect Tuesday at 5 pm and is in effect until April 30.
All of Governor Ducey’s Executive Orders to date can be found here.

Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist

Below is a link to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist. As part of the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES)
Act, there is support for 501(c)(3) organizations and other small businesses.

Small Business Guide and Checklist


March 29, 2020 Updates

Time-sensitive request for PPE from NFDA

NFDA has heard from members around the country about the critical shortage of PPE.  In “hot spots” experiencing high rates of death, our members estimate they will run out of PPE in as soon as seven days, sooner if the death rate continues to escalate.

Access to PPE continues to be a top priority for NFDA.  Because governors determine priorities for allocating PPE, NFDA is making the attached time-sensitive request for PPE for deathcare professionals to all state governors and the National Governors Association.

NFDA is committed to helping AFCCA and our members continue to provide meaningful assistance to the dead and their grieving families and to do so safely.  NFDA is continually petitioning federal officials – CDC, FEMA, Health and Human Services, the President, Congress, state Governors and others – about ensuring funeral home are on the priority list for receiving these critical supplies. We are also exploring private avenues around the world for securing PPE for funeral professionals.

Letter to Governors Association About PPE – 03-29-2020 FIN

AFCCA is reporting supply issues to NFDA in order to keep them up to date on Arizona’s supply chain. Please continue to let AFCCA (director@azfcca.org) or the Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers of your needs.


March 26, 2020 Updates

Governor Ducey Issues Executive Order To Expand Licensing Opportunities

PHOENIX — Today, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order helping licensed professionals in the state stay licensed and deferring certain requirements for six months.

Under the Executive Order, state agencies and boards will defer requirements to renew licenses that have an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and September 1, 2020 by six months from the expiration date, unless those requirements can be completed online. Additionally, they will defer requirements to complete continuing education by six months, unless those requirements can be completed online.

“The last thing we need now is for recurring licensing requirements to keep someone from working,” said Governor Ducey. “Many professionals are working from home or their office while following all guidance from public health officials. We want to make sure they have the opportunity to continue doing so and contributing to our economy, and that’s what this commonsense order does.”

Under today’s Executive Order, state agencies and boards will suspend any rules that prevent or limit the amount of online or alternative learning hours permitted to issue or renew a license and will make every attempt to implement electronic or remote format examinations for licensure. Additionally, state agencies and boards will issue provisional licenses to applicants who have met all other requirements of Arizona statute and administrative code but cannot take the exam because it isn’t provided via electronic or remote format.

View the Executive Order HERE.

Free Covid-19 Safety Training

AFCCA has been given the opportunity to provide access to a free Coronavirus / COVID-19 course for you to share with your employees and your colleagues. This course comes with live access to safety trainers during business hours and immediate feedback to demonstrate proof of learning.

March 25, 2020 Updates

PPE Best Practices from AZDHS

“The best place for funeral homes to request emergency supplies is through their county health department. However, as you note, it’s difficult at best to procure from that supply as primary care hospitals are being prioritized.
AZDHS is recommending providers of all kinds to reach out to counties, but continue to work their normal supply chains through commercial vendors.”

March 24, 2020 Updates

Clarifying DHS Critical Infrastructure Worker Guidance

NFDA has been actively involved in mass-fatality planning with all relevant federal agencies for more than a decade. We are fully aware of the entire process and how all relevant entities and components work together, but we recognize that things may not be entirely clear to funeral professionals in the field.

Like all emergencies, a strong response is most successful when locally-executed, state-managed and federally-supported. Each state’s governor is responsible for response activities in their state, which include establishing curfews, deploying the National Guard (if needed), and employing any other restrictions or safety measures they deem necessary for the health and welfare of their citizens.

Many members have asked:  What are the state implications regarding the guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that named funeral professionals as critical infrastructure workers?  Essentially, it’s a recommendation to the state, not a mandate, based on the idea that a national response is best managed at the state level.  And, why we asked you to contact your governor about making the DHS guidance mandatory.

To help funeral homes better understand the DHS guidance and what it means for them, we created the following article: http://www.nfda.org/News/IntheNews/NFDANews?ID=4948.

We also created an article explaining our efforts to turn this federal guidance into a mandate. While your governor could choose not to implement or take action on the DHS guidance, a federal mandate would assure funeral professionals would still be protected as critical infrastructure workers: http://www.nfda.org/News/IntheNews/NFDANews?ID=4949.

Note: AFCCA has been urgining our governor to include funeral professionals as part of all critical infrastructure workers. We continue to work with the state to keep our members safe and protected.

 

U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.

FFCRA will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will ensure that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus while at the same time reimbursing businesses.The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document – addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

“Providing information to the American workforce is a top priority for the Wage and Hour Division,” said Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “With so many workers and so many employers struggling to find their way in these trying conditions, providing guidance on a rolling basis will allow workers and businesses to prepare for the law to go into effect on April 1, 2020. We remain committed, and are working around the clock to provide the information and tools for employees and employers alike.”

The guidance announced today is just the first round of information and compliance assistance to come from WHD. A workplace poster required for most employers will be published later this week, along with additional fact sheets and more Q&A.

WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

For more information about the laws enforced by the WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.

The mission of the U.S. Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

# # #

Media Contact: Emily Weeks, 202-693-4676, weeks.emily.c@dol.gov


March 23, 2020 Updates

Emergency stimulus funding for grieving families and small businesses

NFDA sent the linked letter to Congress today. NFDA COVID19 Emergency Funding Letter to Congressional Leadership

Two Asks:

1 – We respectfully ask that you include the deathcare profession in any emergency economic stimulus packages you enact. Like many other small businesses throughout the nation, we fear the financial impact of COVID-19 will result in funeral homes being forced to downsize their workforce or even shut their doors, hindering their abilities to handle the increased death rate and impacting the economic health of the communities they serve. These much-needed funds will enable funeral businesses to continue serving families and communities long after this crisis has passed.

2 – Second, as businesses throughout the country, such as retail stores and restaurants, shut down and lay off workers during this pandemic, many families will struggle to afford a dignified funeral and final disposition for their loved ones. This crisis also impacts the poor, underserved and indigent who cannot afford a funeral. We ask, on behalf of those families who will experience the death of a loved one, that you consider providing emergency relief in this time of grief and crisis. 

GOVERNOR DUCEY ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER DETAILING “ESSENTIAL SERVICES” – INCLUDES FUNERAL SERVICES

Order Provides Clarity And Certainty For Business Owners, Workers

PHOENIX⁠ — Governor Doug Ducey today issued an executive order clarifying businesses and operations deemed “essential” by the state and providing certainty to business owners, employees and families. The order is a proactive and administrative measure to ensure consistent guidance across the state.

“Arizona is focused on limiting the spread of COVID-19, while providing relief to families, individuals and businesses impacted,” said Governor Ducey. “This proactive order will ensure the state has one consistent, overarching policy that is based on CDC and public health guidance — allowing business owners and workers to responsibly plan ahead. We will continue to proceed with a calm and steady approach and act with urgency, while providing certainty whenever possible.”

The executive order outlines “essential services” to include:

  • Health care and public health operations, including hospitals, public health entities, distributors of personal protective equipment and biotechnology companies;
  • Human services operations, including those that provide services for the elderly, those with developmental disabilities, foster and adoption children and the homeless;
  • Infrastructure operations, including food production, utility operators, construction and internet providers;
  • Government functions, including first responders, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, child protection staff, welfare providers and more;
  • Business operations, including grocery and medicine providers, outdoor recreation;
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services, including religious and secular non-profit organizations and food banks;
  • Media organizations, including newspaper, television, radio and other media services;
  • Gas stations and other transportation-related businesses;
  • Financial institutions, including banks and credit unions;
  • Hardware and supply stores;
  • Critical trades, including plumbers, electricians, cleaning, sanitation, HVAC and security staff;
  • Mail, post, shipping and logistics;
  • Education institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, universities and research entities;
  • Laundry services;
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises;
  • Supplies distributors that enable telework and work from home and those that supply essential businesses;
  • Transportation, including airlines, taxis, and ride-sharing;
  • Home-based and care services, including for seniors and those with developmental disabilities;
  • Residential facilities and shelters, including those for children, seniors or at-risk populations;
  • Professional services, including legal, real estate and accounting services;
  • Day care centers for employees exempted though the order;
  • Manufacturers, distribution and producers of supply chain-critical products;
  • Hotels and motels;
  • And funeral services.

The order allows individuals and entities to utilize teleworking to complete essential services.

View the executive order HERE.

Arizona State Veteran Memorial Cemeteries Statement on Services, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Effective Monday, March 23rd all cemetery public buildings and administration office will be closed, and all military and volunteer honors have been suspended. Furthermore, the operations at Arizona Veteran Memorial Cemeteries will be limited to direct intermentS of caskets and cremated remains only.
In following federal health guidelines, all family-to-witness direct interments at AVMC-SV, AVMC-M, and AVMC-CN will be limited to groups of no larger than 10 people. Family-to-witness columbarium inurnment will be limited to a maximum of 8 members of the immediate family only. Family to witness placements of in-ground inurnment and casket interments are still restricted to roadside viewing from vehicle.
This decision was not taken lightly, but was made to ensure the continued health and safety of our visitors, volunteers, and staff. We will keep you informed as we receive more information and, when we will resume our normal operations.

March 22, 2020 Updates

NFDA Letters Sent to POTUS and Congressional Leadership

As the COVID-19 situation has evolved, NFDA has been working with the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to identify deathcare workers as essential critical infrastructure workers. As you know, this designation would assure deathcare workers:
  • Have priority access to personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Are exempt from quarantine orders
  • Have priority access to testing and a vaccine once one becomes available
To add pressure to get a quick response, NFDA drafted a letter to Secretary Azar of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and many national & state association, plus many funeral service providers unitedly signed.
NFDA didn’t get all three of the recommendations requested – priority access to testing and a vaccine was not addressed – and they wanted to make this a mandate to the states vs guidance, they refocused efforts by sending a request to the President of the United States. NFDA asked him to issue an executive order to make the DHS guidance mandatory.
Read the Letters:

March 20, 2020 Updates

COVID -19 Maricopa County Office of Vital Registration Change In Business Practice

This message is for all our funeral home partners including those who use the DAVE Portal.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraging mail out service but are also offering curb side drop-off and pick-up services for issuance requests and charge account fulfillment orders. We’ll begin this service Monday, March 23, 2020.

We are not providing in-person services at this time but will manage emergency situations, including shippers and expedited requests, through this appointment system.

Call 602-372-0535 option 4 and schedule a pick-up day/time – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 8:30 AM and 3:00 PM.

If you want to temporarily discontinue pick up services, we can temporarily convert your establishment to mail out services. Please notify Sheneen Ash via email at Sheneen.Ash@maricopa.gov.

We’re all in this together and we appreciate all that you do. Please check back frequently as events may change.

March 19, 2020 Updates

For Immediate Release: March 19, 2020

Contact: Jessica Koth, 262-814-1536, jkoth@nfda.org

NFDA Scores BIG WIN for Funeral Service: Homeland Security Names Mortuary Workers as Critical Infrastructure Workers

Brookfield, Wis. – At the urging of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), guidance issued today by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) named mortuary workers as “critical infrastructure workers.” This underscores the vital role funeral directors and others who work in deathcare play in responding to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For more than a decade, NFDA has worked to ensure that during any mass-fatality event, mortuary workers are considered critical infrastructure workers. As the COVID-19 pandemic began to intensify globally and reach American shores, NFDA intensified its call to federal officials to solidify this classification.

The guidance noted words from President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Guidance for America: “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

Mortuary workers, which the guidance defines as “Workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemetery workers” and “Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death; and facilitate access to mental/behavioral health services to the family members, responders, and survivors of an incident,” are included in the “Healthcare/Public Health” category along with doctors, nurses, people performing testing and researchers. This essentially covers the full spectrum of those who work in deathcare.

This guidance helps define for state and local public health officials the professions that are essential to the COVID-19 pandemic response. The guidance specifically notes that critical infrastructure workers should have priority access to personal protective equipment and be exempt from “shelter-in-place” mandates. While the guidance does not address priority access for a COVID-19 vaccine once it is developed, this guidance does signal that critical infrastructure workers would take precedence. NFDA is planning to send a letter to DHS asking them to prioritize mortuary workers once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

“The ability of funeral professionals to safely carry out their duties during a mass-fatality incident is paramount. We were very pleased to see NFDA’s efforts pay off when the federal government recognized mortuary workers as critical to the COVID-19 pandemic response,” said NFDA CEO Christine Pepper, CAE. “The role that funeral directors and cemetery and crematory workers are playing during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical. While their work may be overlooked, they are truly on the front lines in helping to care for pandemic victims and grieving families.”

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.

March 18, 2020 Updates

Webcasting licenses for livestreaming permitted
Today, March 18, NFDA was able to confirm that NFDA webcasting license does allow performance of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC copyrighted music on Facebook and YouTube as would occur during funeral services.
If you do not currently have a NFDA funeral webcasting license, click here for more information and to purchase one.
Please note: In some cases, Facebook or YouTube may take videos down or stop a live stream because they are unaware the funeral home has the appropriate webcasting license and is permitted to stream funeral services with copyrighted music.
If you hold a webcasting license and find your streams or videos are being blocked or taken down, please take a photo or capture a screenshot of the notification you receive stating your videos or live feeds are being blocked/taken down. Send this photo or screen shot to NFDA (nfda@nfda.org) and the issue will be directly addressed with Facebook and/or YouTube.
NFDA General Counsel Scott Gilligan is reaching out to Facebook and YouTube to proactively address this issue of blocking or removing streams and videos. We ask funeral homes’ patience as we work as swiftly as we can to put this issue to rest.
NFDA is also working to update the webcast license receipt to include language stating that the license permits performances of copyrighted music licensed by ASCAP, BMI and SESAC on Facebook and YouTube.
Please let your staff and colleagues know about this very important question they had regarding live streaming funerals.

March 17, 2020 Updates

Linked below are guidelines from the National Vital Statistic Systems for certifying COVID-19 deaths. AFCCA will also get this up on our COVID-19 page of the website for reference.
From NFDA
The NFDA is keeping their COVID-19 page updated with news and resources for the funeral industry. Be sure to read through it to keep up to date. https://www.nfda.org/covid-19/_zs/ufndl/_zl/poli1
In terms of holding funerals, the current recommendations are:
While it is possible to have a funeral, they must, in the interim, be limited. Updated guidance released by the White House on March 16 suggests no public gatherings larger than 10 people for the next 15 days.
Updated guidance from the CDC released on March 16 suggests no gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
Information in link below offers suggestions for how you may handle services in the interim.
From Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemeteries 
In light of concerns regarding the community spread of COVID-19, we are strongly urging that all committal services adhere to the CDC guidelines to avoid groups of more than 10 people. We request your assistance in communicating and adhering to this guidance.
Additionally, volunteer and military honor guard availability may be limited based on local conditions.
We are urging that only families members and close friends to only attend Committal Services. In light of concerns regarding COVID-19, we understand some families may prefer to proceed with direct interment of their loved ones and postpone the formal committal services to a later date. Families can plan for a direct placement and hold a Committal Service at a later date. We are asking that people inquiring about burial benefits to not to come in to our offices and call us at
Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery
520-458-7144 or email us AVMC-SV@AZDVS.GOV
Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery – Marana
520-638-4869 or email AVMC-M@AZDVS.GOV
Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery – Camp Navajo
928-214-3473 or email AVMC-CN@AZDVS.GOV
As information becomes more available, we will send updates or you can visit us on social media pages:

March 15 2020 Update

The CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
 

From the State of Arizona:

On March 11, 2020, Governor Ducey issued a declaration of emergency and an executive order regarding COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
It has been recommend that:
Employees who are sick should stay home or go home.
  • COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • In adults, emergency warning signs include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, and blush lips or face.
If you’re sick, you should see a doctor or other medical professional.
  • Employees who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after contact.
  • Individuals at higher risk—including older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease—should speak to their supervisors about working from home.
Protective Measures for your Work Space
  • Remove candy dishes and other food containers from offices, arrangement rooms and work spaces.
  • Members and staff should regularly clean and disinfect their keyboards, cell phones, desk phones, desks, other hard surfaces, etc.
As a reminder, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified the following steps to prevent illness, among others:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and put distance between yourself and others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.
  • If you’re sick or caring for someone who is, wear a facemask.
Additional guidance is available at:
The Arizona Department of Health Services’ website

From NFDA:

CDC Releases Practical COVID-19 Guidance for Funeral Directors
NFDA continues to lead the conversation with federal officials about the role of funeral service as it relates to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. At the request of NFDA and as a followup to the postmortem guidance released by the CDC in late-February, today, the agency released specific information about funeral and visitation services to help funeral directors safely care for people who have died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19.
Specifically, this answers the following questions:
  • Am I at risk if I go to a funeral or visitation service for someone who died of COVID-19?
  • Am I at risk if I touch someone who died of COVID-19 after they have passed away?
  • What do funeral home workers need to know about handling decedents who had COVID-19?
  • What should I do if my family member died from COVID-19 while overseas and what are the requirements for returning the body to the U.S.?
In summary:
  • You can still have a funeral or visitation.
  • Bodies can be embalmed using proper PPE.
  • Decedents can be buried or cremated, but check with state and local requirements.

Read this Critical Information

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