2020 Fall Conference Postponed
Dear Members and Friends,
We thank all of you who provided input through our conference survey. We analyzed the results and considered the unpredictability of the near future. The governor issued orders on Monday regarding masks to be worn, even outside, wherever physical distancing of six feet cannot be maintained. This order signals a more urgent responsibility. We cannot predict where we will be in three months, but based on the trending numbers, we decided it would be prudent to postpone until spring.
If the order were to still stand in October, compliance would be impossible at a conference held indoors where socializing and sharing meals are part of the experience. We are extremely disappointed we won't be able to rub elbows with our friends and colleagues this year as we have in years past. It is not a decision we made lightly.
Our survey results also indicated a lukewarm reception to having virtual events instead. So for that reason, the conference package as a whole will have to wait until we can prepare speakers, events, and have gatherings that are more conducive to learning, networking, and conducting business in a format we are all more accustomed to.
We will still conduct our members' annual meeting online in the fall. Watch your email for the announcement of when that will occur. It will include an election.
We appreciate your understanding and welcome comments at any time. You may reach us here.
Noel Seats, President
Cemetery Association of Oregon
Paycheck Protection Program
Is your cemetery included?
501(c)(3) entities are eligible to receive funds under the current draft of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). But what if your cemetery is a 501(c)(13)? ICCFA has provided a letter you can use to ask your representative to be included. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has an online form where you may send a message as well. We urge you to act quickly.
These are extremely anxious and stressful times. A contingency for every scenario we face would be impossible. Cemeteries should do their best to comply with the mandate and serve the family. Following are our recommendations:
- All non-essential staff members at cemeteries should work from home as much as possible and avoid coming into the office. Essential employees vary from each business operations to the next, so owners and operators should review for their own needs.
- Cemeteries should provide arrangement and consultation services 100% remotely when possible. Meeting with a client family should be done as a last resort. In those situations, only the next of kin would come to the location and take care of the business at hand. Upon their departure, all used areas of the office should be disinfected.
- All gatherings are prohibited. This includes the following services: graveside, church funeral, chapel funeral, memorial, life celebration, viewing, witness to cremation and any other event where non-immediate family would be in attendance.
- It is understood that there are certain circumstances when a family will need to come into the cemetery office.
The following could be a guide or suggestions on how to handle those events:
- Witness to immediate burial: Limit attendance to next of kin/immediate family only. Maximum attendance is five family members. (Exceptions made when immediate family is larger than five but up to funeral home and cemetery discretion.) A best practice would be to have the family witness the burial from their personal vehicle and not exit the vehicle if possible.
- Religious ceremonies that involved attendance by officiant: Limit attendance to one religious officiant (pastor, priest, rabbi, monk, etc.) and next of kin or immediate family up to five family members. A best practice would be to have the service recorded or live-streamed so the greater family and community can attend remotely.
Before transmitting any photos or recordings of services or remains, it is advised that written permission be obtained from the next of kin.
We also recommend subscribing to the Oregon Mortuary & Cemetery Board's email updates. Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to their email list. You may also visit their website for more information.
Additional resources, including a downloadable sample compliance letter, may be found on the ICCFA website.