With the ever-changing rules and regulations, due to the coronavirus pandemic, local mortuaries and cemeteries are constantly having do adapt like Mt. View Mortuary and Cemetery at 570 E. Highland Ave, in San Bernardino.
Mt. View Location Manager Summer Pierce said, “It’s extremely difficult,” to keep up with the regulations that are always being updated and sent down from the federal, state and county levels.
She says “It’s constantly changing, unfortunately, because as the guidelines change we have to rearrange things with our families.”
She said while she hasn’t had to lay anyone off or reduce hours, but all 25 staff members must wear face coverings.
She said Mt View “Started off with doing no services at all,” and “doing direct burials and cremations, then they [government officials] eased up a little bit and were allowed to have 10 people present in the chapel and at the graveside.”
Pierce said about six weeks ago state officials, then allowed in-person services to resume but only at 25 percent capacity or 70 people as businesses like theirs are treated like churches. This may change, as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that churches could not worship with singing followed by ordering them to reclose their doors due to what he said was a rise of positive coronavirus cases in 19 counties including San Bernardino County. Pierce said Mt. View has not received any news guidelines from the state as of Tuesday, July 14.
She said some families are not happy with these rules and she wishes things were a little more lenient for the families’ sake. Pierce tries to set things up with families over the phone, but some want to do it in person, she said only two people can be present and must wear face coverings and can wear a face shield if they provide a medical exception from their doctor.
Pierce says Mt. View also offers virtual arrangements/live streams, which about 30 percent of families have chosen to do. Others have opted to hold burials/cremations and wait to hold a memorial event when it is permitted.
Pierce’s message to folks is “The rules may be one way today and that they may be totally different tomorrow, we can’t guarantee anything, we can’t guarantee what kind of services you will be able to have or not able to have.”