The government’s recently implemented burial protocols mandate that only immediate family members of deceased persons are allowed to view the bodies of their dead.
Immediate family members are classified as parents, siblings, children, spouses.
The protocols further state that viewings will only take place at the funeral home and family members will not be allowed to make physical contact with the deceased.
And after the viewing, the body of the deceased will be taken directly to the grave site for immediate burial.
“Any service in memory of the deceased can be held after, while bearing in mind the Public Health (COVID-19 Control and Suppression Measures) Order 2021, which limits all gatherings to one person per sixty-four square feet and shall not exceed 25 persons at any given time,” the Health Ministry said in a recent announcement.
It added: “The Ministry of Health has also advised that organisers of the funeral are to ensure that all safety measures are met, and that personal protective equipment, namely face masks are always worn by attendees. They are also encouraged to record the names and contact details of all in attendance so that this information can be used for contact tracing if necessary.”
The government’s burial protocols were designed to allow families to safely grieve as the territory experiences a major COVID-19 surge.
These guidelines for burials were created in consultation with key stakeholders such as the Coroner’s Office, Civil Registry, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, the Department of Disaster Management and the Health Emergency Operations Centre – Unified Command Centre.
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