QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING CATHOLIC CEMETERY OPERATIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Joan Gecik asks:

Q: Our Dept of Health has just put out the following: Because individuals are not permitted to leave home for public gatherings such as funeral services, memorial services, visitations, and gravesite services, such gatherings should be postponed for the duration of the Executive Order 20-20.

Has anyone dealt with what this “practically means?” Are we exempt because we are a religious institution? I know this is in regard to “gathering” as we are in a “stay at place” for at least the next 2 weeks. How have you handled this with burials?

Email answers to cccoffice@catholiccemeteryconference.org

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Mark Christian asks:

Q: At this point, we are limiting office visitors to those families arranging for a burial. Beyond this, we have reduced office hours and are trying to give general maintenance employees time off when possible. Are others going forward with their spring maintenance programs as usual or are they making adjustments? Any information you can share is appreciated.

Email answers to cccoffice@catholiccemeteryconference.org

Joan Gecik says:

We will be going into “shelter at home” tomorrow. We have decided to put off spring maintenance until we have a need for mowing, which could be another month for us. Our first priority is to bury those who need to be buried. Our second priority is to keep all employees safe. We are pretty bare-bones as far as field staff and so cannot rotate them. (I also have 6 cemeteries) We have already cancelled our Memorial Day Masses as MN will not peak until possibly early May. I know that our field staff obsesses about how we will “look” for Memorial Day, but that has now taken a back seat to our other priorities.

 

Connie Sacha asks:

Q: I have a question regarding seasonal help, to keep our costs down we will typically hire graduated high school seniors or college-aged students to work for our cemeteries to do landscaping needs during the summer months. I have been recently approached and asked why we can’t pay these people a higher wage for the summer…my question to you is do you hire seasonal help and do you have a minimum wage that you pay them? I am in Michigan and I know this may vary throughout the states, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this topic. Thank you.

CCC NOTE: During the current pandemic, this may be an even bigger issue going forward and would be helpful to discuss now prior to the immediate need.

Email answers to cccoffice@catholiccemeteryconference.org

Joan Gecik says:

We hire seasonal help through an employment agency. I believe our pay is $14.00 p/hr. For Mpls/St. Paul, our minimum is $15 per/hr but because the employment agency is not located in either city they can get by with a bit lower per hour. We have not begun to think what we will be doing at this point. We need to work within the budget we have.