Funeral home directors say mandates put them in a difficult position


LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WDKY) – The new statewide mandate has funeral home directors questioning the necessity for some of their services. The number of guests allowed in attendance has been limited again.

“They can’t go see their family member in the hospital. And when they pass away, they can’t go see them in the funeral home,” said Roy Martin, owner of Dowell and Martin Funeral Home.

There have been almost 2,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the state, and under new restrictions, only 25 people can attend each funeral service.

“99 percent are very understanding, but it’s not fair to them. They don’t like it,” Martin said.

Martin has spent the past week explaining to families they’ll have to choose who will attend their loved one’s funeral service.

“We have a lot of immediate families that’s bigger than 25,” said Brian House, funeral director at Laurel Funeral Home.

House says they’re following the governor’s new mandate. Limiting the number of guests, requiring face masks and distancing people in attendance.

“I had a family recently ask me why I had their family’s funeral listed as private, 25 people only, when just up the road, another funeral home has everything listed as operating business as usual,” House said.

House and Martin say no one’s been enforcing the new mandate, meaning they’re losing business to those not following the order.

“I don’t want to be the funeral home and funeral director that cause Laurel County to get sick,” House said.

While the new mandate may be a difficult reality for already grieving families, House says he’s not willing to risk it to defy the new order.

House says the health department is supposed to be monitoring funeral home directors not following the new restrictions. He says he’s made calls to report the business owners violating the mandate.

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