Drive-thru viewings provide sense of normalcy to families in mourning

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Like most businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, funeral homes face new challenges in complying with federal social distancing guidelines.

Gary Vinson, the manager of Baker McCullough Funeral Home, says they have suspended regular viewings out of an abundance of caution.

“But we felt that there was a need for more families and friends to have the closure that they are accustomed to,” Vinson added.

The funeral home has started drive-thru viewings at their locations in Savannah and Garden City. 

Loved ones can drive up to the viewing behind a plexiglass wall, scan a QR code to sign a virtual guest book, and most importantly, pay their respects in person.

“It gives the friends and family the closure that they need — that we have been eliminated from because of the coronavirus,” said Vinson.

The immediate family of the deceased is allowed to be near the body in the funeral home as long as there are no more than 10 people in the room at a time.

Family members can also livestream the viewing instead of attending in person if they do not feel comfortable being out in public.

“We have made changes that are beneficial, we feel, for the future of funeral service from livestreaming which we have always offered, but are utilizing more,” said Vinson.

So far, the staff says people have been very receptive to this new idea that’s given a sense of normalcy they need to feel right now.

“Some family members say they wish this could have been implemented sooner because they were forced to have a service that they didn’t feel was more personal that they needed,” said Vinson.

The manager says this option will likely continue even after the pandemic is over.

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