Funeral, Cemetery and Crematory professionals are here to support families and communities, whether it’s a death due to COVID-19 or some other cause. Funeral directors and cemetery professionals will work with families to help them commemorate the life of their loved one in a way that is meaningful but follows current federal, state and local guidance regarding public safety – particularly respecting guidance for large gatherings. These are challenging times for all of us.
While this situation is fluid and things seem to change from minute-to-minute, the one thing families and communities can count on is that funeral homes and cemeteries will be there to support families and help them understand their options during this difficult time.
- Our association has relationships with the Arizona Board for Funeral Directors & Embalmers, State and County Health Departments, the National Funeral Directors Associations, and other State Associations in order to provide resources to our members and funeral homes in the state as we prepare for a possible surge.
- Our organization is not responsible for tracking pandemic-related statistics. County and state health departments are tracking this information and can best answer any questions.
- The association first and foremost will advocate for our funeral professionals and the families we serve. We are here to ensure our members voices are heard and that families are cared for ethically and compassionately.
- We communicate information to consumers and the funeral industry as it is made available.
- In making these preparations, our goal is to help ensure every family is able to lay their loved one to rest in a respectful and dignified manner.
- AFCCA will continue to participate in conversations with state and county officials about the role of funeral service as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other Points of Concern
- Medical examiners and state and local public health officials are working with local funeral homes to ensure that every individual who dies is treated with respect. As the situation evolves, they are adjusting their plans to ensure the people of our state are cared for in a dignified manner. The medical examiner can share more information about the specific plans in your county.
- Funeral homes are not just caring for pandemic-related deaths; they are also serving families whose loved ones died of other causes. As you might imagine the additional pandemic-related deaths have caused some funeral homes to be busier than others. We have many fine funeral homes in every county of our state; if one is unable to meet your needs, there are many others that can. I encourage you to visit the Arizona Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation Association website to search for a member funeral home near you.
Additional ResourcesNFDA 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 pertaining to Funeral and Cemetery Services, 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.
Dignity Memorial/SCI Phoenix shared with us their cleaning protocols they have implemented:
What do you do if you have COVID-19 symptoms?
It is more important than ever to make sure that your funeral home staff takes care and stays healthy. If you are feeling symptoms or if you have been in contact with someone who has symptoms, here is a list of resources to make sure you are taken care of:
Primary Care Physicians – For those who have a primary care physician, they should first call them and explain their symptoms.
Urgent Care Clinics – Be sure to call the clinic before a walk-in appointment and speak to them about symptoms.
Hotlines – People can call the 211 hotline or the Dept. of Health Services at 1-844-542-8201. Both options allow you to speak to a specialist.
Banner Health – People can call Banner Health’s Hotline at 1-844-549-1851. A clinical team member can talk to them to determine if testing is appropriate. The hotline is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. If testing is needed, the person will be scheduled to visit a Banner drive-thru site.
Mayo Clinic – Patients of the Mayo Clinic of Arizona can call their Mayo doctor and explain their symptoms. If their Mayo doctor writes them an order for testing, they can get tested at a Mayo drive-thru clinic.
Maready Medical in Mesa – Maready Medical, located near Power and Warner roads in Mesa, is offering drive-up testing for patients with a doctor’s order. Patients can make a virtual appointment here.
Family Tree Healthcare Clinic in Phoenix– Located at 7002 S. Central Avenue is offering free COVID-19 testing Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Click here to make an appointment.
Coconino County – Residents can call this hotline at 928-679-7300 for information on COVID-19. It operates from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 to 4 on Saturdays.
July 31, 2020
Family Service Counselors have been seeing a rise in Preneed requests. Here are some resources that may help you when meeting with families virtually.
July 23, 2020 Updates
The Governor also announced the extension of an Executive Order pausing operations on gyms, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, water parks, and tubing. The order also prohibits large events and enables local law authorities to take immediate enforcement action to ensure compliance with the order. The pause of these operations will be reviewed for repeal or revision every two weeks.
He will be adding millions of dollars to help with students with special educational needs.
They will continue to monitor cases of COVID-19 and determine reopen date for schools. He added that parents needed to check with their local school districts for more details
The requirements will be loosened up for parents to decide on the type of education will work best of their children
The governor was asked about unemployment insurance. He said he wanted to wait and see what happened at the national level before addressing at our state level
He was also asked about a special session in our state to address the liability for businesses. He again said he wanted to wait to see where this measure went at the national level
June 29, 2020 Updates
- Organized events of 50 or more people are prohibited.
- Bars, Gyms, movie theaters, will all be closed for at least 30 days
- The opening of schools has been pushed back 2 weeks, from August 3rd to August 17th
- All pools will be limited to 10 people, this includes, apartments, condo and water parks
- Liquor Control will not be allowed to issue any special event licenses
- AZ DHS Director Dr. Christ said that testing will be increased through the state
- The Governor stated that the state will be working with ASU on a saliva test that has quicker timeline for results
June 24, 2020 Updates
- Avondale- requires signage to be posted by business
- Peoria- require signage posted and distributed to employees
- Somerton- requires businesses to supply masks for employees
- Ordinances vary on the age from age 2-6 (of when face coverings are required)
- One valve masks do not meet face covering requirements
- Ordinances have exemptions for religious and medical reasons
- Enforcement varies (some cities require businesses to enforce and have penalties for the business)
June 18 2020 Updates
AFCCA has 10 boxes of 50 masks that we can give to funeral homes to use. If you are in need of masks, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cities Enforcing Masks:
- Mayor Gallego this morning stated she’s pushing for all mayors in Maricopa County to be on the same page so hopefully
- The Border Counties Coalition is meeting Friday June 19 at 4 p.m., hoping that will align the rules for those four counties (Yuma, Pima, Santa Cruz, Cochise)
- Casa Grande already announced: Casa Grande Press Release 6.17.20
- Flagstaff, Tempe and Tucson are expected to announce or release emergency proclamations today
- Chandler is meeting today at 4 to vote on mandate
- Gilbert & Glendale are set for meetings Friday, June 19 to vote
June 17, 2020 Updates
As follow up from the Wednesday 6/17 Press Conference.
- The press conference itself can be watched here:
- The Slide Deck the Governor used can be found under “news releases”
- The Governor announced an executive order today which can be found here; It allows ADHS to implement a consistent, statewide system for contact tracing. It also will allow local jurisdictions to implement mask-wearing policies, should they so choose.
- As a reminder, all of our Executive Orders can be found here:
- We also issued updated guidance from ADHS stemming from our “Stay Healthy, Return Stronger” executive order which will require businesses to implement safety plans to protect workers. The guidance can be found in the links below, but some of the measures include:
- Physically distancing of 6 feet
- Providing employees with face-coverings and requiring the usage
- Conducting symptom checks for employees before shifts
- Requiring sick employees to stay home
- Increased sanitation schedules.
June 13, 2020 Updates
How COVID-19 is Affecting State Budgets & 2020 Elections
by John Haughey, FiscalNote
When state legislatures across the country convene for 2021 sessions early next year, lawmakers will be dealing with a host of issues few could have anticipated just a few months ago.
Click here to read the blog.
June 11, 2020 Updates
Please find the linked letter regarding Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemeteries resuming committal services. If you have any questions, please contact the respective cemeteries for additional information.
VA national cemeteries resume committal and memorial services halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, read more by clicking the link below.
May 12, 2020 Updates
Governor Ducey Announces Next Phase Of Arizona Recovery
Stay At Home Order To Expire On May 15; Replaced By New Guidance For Economic Recovery That Prioritizes Health And Physical Distancing
PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced that the Stay At Home order in Arizona will be ending on May 15 and replaced by new guidance for the next stage of economic recovery. The new guidance aligns with gating criteria issued by the White House and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and aims to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 resurgence, protect vulnerable populations, and guide the reopening of businesses with enhanced physical distancing and safety measures in place.
Arizona’s new Executive Order, which takes effect on Saturday, May 16, builds on Arizona’s comprehensive efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health, including: ramping up testing availability and frequency; implementing tracking of key health metrics such as reported symptomatic cases and emergency room usage; standing up surge hospital capacity to be used as needed; expanding statewide contact tracing; bolstering supply chains for personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers and emergency responders; implementing enhanced safety protocols to protect those living and working in high-risk facilities such as nursing homes; and providing public health guidance for businesses and individuals to ensure continued physical distancing.
“Since the start of this pandemic, Arizona has taken a calm and steady approach to protecting health and slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Ducey. “Today, our hospitals have capacity to provide care to those who need it; our businesses are implementing and adapting to new physical distancing measures; and data shows Arizona is headed in the right direction. It is time to move forward with the next steps of Arizona’s economic recovery — while continuing to make health and safety our number one priority. I’m grateful to all Arizonans for their partnership and cooperation during these trying times. By continuing to follow the data and recommendations of public health officials, we can continue to move forward safely and responsibly together.”
Governor Ducey also announced today an accelerated plan to test all staff and residents of long-term care facilities as well as individuals within Arizona’s prisons. As part of this plan, the Arizona Department of Health Services will partner with private-sector labs to expand testing to 147 long-term care facilities and provide antibody tests for correctional officers. Additionally, major league sports can resume limited reopening, without fans, this Saturday, May 16.
The Arizona Department of Health Services also released additional guidance for businesses and customers as more industries resume partial operations. This guidance includes:
- Pools, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)
- Gyms & Fitness Providers, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)
- Spas, with physical distancing and enhanced sanitation – can reopen Wednesday, May 13 (GUIDANCE)
While never formally closed, many Places of Worship opted to temporarily change or suspend services in order to follow physical distancing guidelines. As they resume operations, the Arizona Department of Health Services released GUIDANCE for enhanced physical distancing and safety precautions.
View today’s Executive Order HERE.
View daily Arizona updates HERE.
May 5, 2020 Updates
April 24, 2020 Updates
NFDA Calls Up More Volunteers to Care for Pandemic Victims
- New York
- On April 11, the names of 113 licensed funeral directors were send to the New York State Funeral Directors Association (NYSFDA), which is managing requests for assistance from funeral homes in the New York City area.
- The names of 112 students and apprentices were sent to the New York City Office of Emergency Management to help hospitals ensure decedents in their custody are treated respectfully until funeral homes conduct transfers.
- On April 17, the names of 30 funeral directors were sent to the Michigan Funeral Directors Association (MFDA), which is working with the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center and the Michigan Emergency Operations Center. These volunteers will work to ensure decedents are safely and respectfully transferred from hospitals to temporary sheltering facilities.
- North Carolina
- On April 16, the names of 76 students and apprentices were sent to the North Carolina Office of Emergency Management. These volunteers will work to ensure decedents are safely and respectfully transferred from hospitals to temporary sheltering facilities.
- New York
- On April 8, the names of eight licensed funeral directors from the state of New York were provided to NYSFDA to assist funeral homes in New York City.
- On April 9, the names of 115 students and apprentices were sent to the New York City Office of Emergency Management to help hospitals ensure decedents in their custody are treated respectfully until funeral homes conduct transfers.
- New Jersey
- On April 10, the names of 23 volunteers – 16 licensed funeral directors from New Jersey and 7 students and apprentices – were forwarded to the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, which is managing requests for assistance from funeral homes.
- On April 10, NFDA sent the names of 15 volunteers from the state of Michigan to MFDA, which is managing requests for help from funeral homes.
April 20, 2020 Updates
Opening Up America Again Plan
This slide deck is for informative purposes only and is not a guidance from AFCCA. Stay tuned for details on Arizona’s strategy based on these guidelines.
April 14, 2020 Updates
Message from Judith Stapley, AZ State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to be prepared for a potential surge of fatalities, the Arizona Department of Health Services is developing a “Funeral Home Capacity Tracker”. This system will operate in real time and provide hospitals, medical facilities, etc. with the ability to see which locations have available decedent storage. What is needed from each location is the full name and email contact information for 2-3 individuals that will have the editorial rights and access to the dashboard of this system. This is a tool that can be employed in the event of a fatality surge, not on a regular basis. Since it will be up to Funeral Homes and Crematories to be the main source of accurate data collection, it is imperative for you to identify the best individuals on your staff to accomplish this. It will require the designated individuals to update the system each time a decedent either leaves your facility (cremated, buried, shipped out etc.) or is accepted into your custody. We are anticipating that the Tracker will be accessible on a computer or smartphone.
Please respond to Yazmin Bustamente with the necessary information as soon as possible. The designated names and email information must be programmed into the system to be functional. We will have further information forthcoming and will keep you updated as things progress.
Thank you for your immediate response to this request. We appreciate all you do! Stay safe!
Message from NFDA
NFDA has been working with Senator Schumer and others in Congress on assistance for “last responders”.
One of the issues we brought up with Leader Schumer and the National Governors Association is the need to help families who cannot afford to pay for funerals due to COVID 19. Please see linked letter from Senator Schumer to FEMA.
NFDA will continue to proactively address issues with the Federal government and the state governors.
AFCCA is looking at and evaluating the need to send a similar letter to our Governor.
April 10, 2020 Updates
This linked letter was sent April 9, 2020 to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. You can view all the letters NFDA has sent to the Administration, Governors, and Congress on the COVID-19 section of the NFDA website.
NFDA has also sent a letter to congressional leadership requesting that funeral service be considered in any COVID stimulus legislation.
NFDA will monitor all the COVID bills as they move through Congress and engage as necessary
April 9, 2020 Updates
Recommendations from the National Concrete Burial Vault Association
The CDC has published general and interim guidance for businesses to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19.
With limited supplies of disinfectants and protective gear in many areas, NCBVA – with unanimous approval from its Board of Directors and member businesses Doric, Eagle, Trigard, and Wilbert Funeral Services Inc — recommends that all members immediately discontinue the use of the following items, and any other similar items, due to inability to easily disinfect and to enable social distancing:
- Lap blankets
- Water cooler service
- Chairs and chair covers
- and Tent sidewalls
NCBVA recommends these items in addition to any and all standard preventive measures such as hand washing, staying home when sick, safe distancing, as well as any state or local limitations on gatherings, etc.
Regarding graveside committal services, many of you are mandating that your vault men not approach the grave while a family is still present, and this also seems to make sense. In cases where this might not be feasible, others are asking that all in attendance back away from the grave by 20 fee while the vault is being set, sealed and lowered.
Lastly, here is a link to a corona virus dashboard that shows some stats that you may nd helpful. Thank you for understanding. While this may seem as an inconvenience, it is our fiduciary duty to help protect all those we come in contact with as well as ourselves. We want to make sure we continue to help funeral directors, cemeteries, the families they serve, as well as all those in the community, in a safe and effective manner.
April 7, 2020 Updates
Pima County Nighttime Cremations
Please see the linked information below from Pima County Environmental Quality regarding the ability to perform nighttime cremations. This request was made for the purpose of keeping as much decedent storage available as possible. If you have all necessary permits and authorizations in place, this is one more tool to help the funeral industry keep up with the rising surge of decedents associated with the COVID-19 virus.
Maricopa County Nighttime Cremations
Please see the linked information below from Maricopa County Environmental Quality regarding the ability to perform nighttime cremations. This request was made for the purpose of keeping as much decedent storage available as possible. If you have all necessary permits and authorizations in place, this is one more tool to help the funeral industry keep up with the rising surge of decedents associated with the COVID-19 virus.
Virtual Notary Services
“We are taking proactive measures to protect public health while ensuring Arizona can still take care of their essential needs,” said Governor Ducey. “This order allows key components of business for bankers, real estate agents, legal companies, health care professionals and much more to carry on during the COVID-19 outbreak in a safe and secure way that protects public health. I’m grateful to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs for putting in important work behind the scenes to accelerate this process and give Arizonans access to this opportunity ahead of schedule.”
“We worked hard to ensure these services were made available months ahead of schedule — because Arizonans need it now,” said Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. “This order utilizes technology to get documents signed and notarized securely and in real time. These services are needed, especially in health care settings and rural parts of Arizona. We will continue to take the actions necessary to protect public health while meeting the needs of fellow Arizonans.”
The Secretary of State has adopted rules to ensure a secure identity verification process using online audio-video technology, allowing the notary and signer to converse in real-time as the signatures and tamper-proof seals are placed on an electronic document. All records of the notarization must be saved and backed up by the notary public.
The Secretary of State’s Office will begin accepting applications for online notarizations Friday, April 10. Visit the website HERE.
View the Executive Order HERE.
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
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.
April 1, 2020 Updates
Embalming & COVID-19
- Embalming is not recommended to avoid excessive manipulation of the body;
- Adults >60 years and immunosuppressed persons should not directly interact with the body.
Recommendations for Safe Funeral Gatherings During Pandemic
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
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.
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.
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 (email@example.com) 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
March 25, 2020 Updates
PPE Best Practices from AZDHS
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.
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Media Contact: Emily Weeks, 202-693-4676, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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.
March 22, 2020 Updates
NFDA Letters Sent to POTUS and Congressional Leadership
- 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
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, email@example.com
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
March 17, 2020 Updates
March 15 2020 Update
From the State of Arizona:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.?
- 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.