CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ In the more than 90 years that the Nardolillo Funeral Home has been open, the business has never experienced anything like COVID-19, according to fourth-generation Funeral Director Anthony Nardolillo.
“This is definitely a first for us,” he said.
Gov. Gina Raimondo recently urged all businesses and Rhode Islanders alike to avoid crowds of more than 25 people in an effort to prevent further community spread.
That means Nardolillo Funeral Home must limit all wakes and funerals to less than 25 people.
“Having to limit families can be difficult,” Nardolillo said. “People want to be here, they want to pay their respects and having to tell somebody that can be really hard.”
Wakes and funerals have been adhering to a “one in, one out” system since the restrictions were announced. If a limited gathering isn’t what the family wants, Nardolillo said they have the option of postponing the funeral to a later date.
“Once the cremation happens, we’re not worried about any unforeseen circumstance of decomposition, so we may see a rise in that,” he said.
Nardolillo said funeral homes are also prepared with protocols if a service is scheduled for a person who passes from the coronavirus.
“If we were ever to get a case of someone who had COVID-19, we’d encourage families not to make physical contact with the body,” Nardolillo said. “We’re taking direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there, and they’ve informed us that there is no known risk with being in the same room as that body.”
Nardolillo said the first funeral with limited guests will be held on Wednesday. He said the funeral home has had two wakes since Raimondo’s announcement, and all of the guests who attended were understanding of the new reality.
“Not ideal for anybody, but we’re all well aware of the risks and we’re just trying to keep everyone safe,” he said.
Nardolillo said the funeral home will begin utilizing technology for those who can’t attend a funeral. He said families now have the option of allowing the funeral to be streamed live on Facebook.
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