During his Tuesday, March 17 daily press conference, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear specifically addressed funerals in Kentucky. He stated that he knows these are difficult decisions to make and yes it’s hard on the families that have lost loved ones but this has to be done to protect the citizens of Kentucky.

The requirement for Kentucky Funeral Homes as set for by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is as follows:

All funerals in Kentucky are limited to the “closest of family” with “private burials.”

Gov. Beshear said the overriding goal of the order is to minimize in-person interaction, which is the primary means of transmission of COVID-19. The immediate implementation of the order is necessary as patrons of public-facing businesses gather in large numbers, in close proximity to each other and in enclosed spaces, endangering the health of customers and staff.

“For those out there trying to find an exception, if you’re not truly engaging in social distancing, if you are not taking those steps, it will force further action,” Gov. Beshear said. “Not that we want to take it, but we have to protect everybody. It’s all of our duties. Look for ways to be a part of the solution as opposed to being an exception to what we’re putting out there.”

Local funeral directors see the changes as sad, but necessary.

“This is a saddening situation across the whole world,” said Bryson Price of Price Funeral Home, Inc. “These changes, although necessary, are going to makes it difficult for families losing loved ones.”

Price says he and other local funeral home directors have been in conversation with one another about the recent mandate and have discussed what “immediate family” means.

“When it says ‘immediate,’ I am thinking parents, children, their spouses, grandparents, and siblings,” said Price. “The mandate says to limit the count to 50 but we have had services in the past with 40 grandchildren. If that number goes above 50 with a large family service, I will have a hard time saying ‘sorry this is your grandparent but we aren’t going to allow you to be here due to the 50 limit.’ ”

Price says one of the hardest things will be for those who want to show their loved one condolences and give them a hug but are being told to refrain from that as well.

Another change will be meals that so many churches provide for families of loved ones who have passed. “I am guessing with the closing of churches, that will not be happening either,” said Price.

Brent Summers of Summers & Son Funeral Home said he just recently had a small gathering before the governor made his announcement concerning funeral homes with only about 8-10 people and it worked out really well.

“I do realize it will not be long before we are faced with a larger service and we will have to limit that service to family only to follow the governor’s mandate,” said Summers.

Summers has concerns as well about where to cut ties in the lineage. A lot of times, he said, the family includes numerous members and before you know it, there are 50 just in a family alone.

“We are going to follow what the governor has mandated and we support the action because the number one most important job in the funeral home business is to protect the public and that is key and our foremost thought,” Summers said adding, “But we want loved ones of those passed to be able to grieve and be a part of as much of the ceremony as they can. There are a lot of changes in our world right now, but grief is still very real.”

Joey Young of Young Funeral Home, Russellville and Auburn Chapels says we are all in unprecedented times and all have to pull together to face a time we are uncertain how to handle.

“After meeting with family yesterday, I was happy to see they were very understanding about the governor’s recent mandate. Although it was difficult to tell them that only their immediate family could attend their loved one’s service, it was met with the best response possible,” said Young.

Young doesn’t think the recent mandate will affect business. However, he is still saddened that it has come to this.

“I never thought in my lifetime I would see this happen,” said Young. “Family needs their time to grieve and they need their friends for support. This is how the process works. “We will continue to focus on those who have passed and the loved ones who have entrusted us during a most difficult time,” said Young.

All three funeral homes have expressed their willingness to stream services on their respective Facebook Pages for those who would like to attend but cannot. All three have also expressed they will be offering traditional services for immediate families of those who pass and then at no charge, allow them to come back at a later time when the governor lifts the mandate to have a traditional service for those who could not attend.