NYSFDA's first and most important priority is the health and safety of our members, your staff and the families you serve, and the well-being of our employees. As we're dealing with COVID-19 (coronavirus), here is some helpful information.

Proactive health and hygiene practices are a must. Proper hand washing, minimal contact, respiratory etiquette and staying home when sick is important in reducing the spread of the virus. We encourage all funeral service professionals to follow Standard Precautions and use proper PPE when handling decedents.

Friday, March 27, 2020: Governor Governor Releases Executive Order Allowing Electronic Signatures
This Executive Order suspends the need for a "wet signature" on documents and forms authorizing or accepting funeral services. Click here for read the full Executive Order (section specific to funerals is Section 307(1) - last bullet).

As of Sunday, March 22 at 8pm: the following took effect with Governor Cuomo's Executive Order:

  • We have confirmation from the Governor's office that immediate family may gather at the Funeral Home for a private viewing/ceremony. As of 10am 03.21.2020, the Governor's office has said immediate family should be limited to as few as possible while maintaining social distancing.
  • Despite some recent news stories, the Department of Health DOES recommend that disposition take place now, but if there is proper storage available and the family wishes to wait that is allowable.

March 20, 2020: NYSFDA has been advised by the Cemetery Association that family members may still be present at committals and graveside services after the Executive Order takes effect on Sunday at 8pm. We recommend contacting the cemetery beforehand.

NYS Governor Cuomo's Executive Order - specifically regarding notaries: As part of the Governor’s efforts to keep essential business activity flowing, he issues a revised approach to obtaining notary signatures where required. The excerpt of the executive order outlining the temporary, revised can be found here(03.20.2020)

County Vital Statistics/Records Offices 

  • City of Albany
  • Onondaga County
    • As of Monday, March 23, visits to the Office of Vital Statistics should be limited to emergent needs only. These include filing a death certificate or obtaining a signature for a holding permit. Please submit all orders for certificates via our office’s online ordering system, mail, or fax.

      Cases in EDRS will continue to be affirmed at the regularly scheduled times, 8:30am, 11am and 2:30pm

      Office will have limited staff coverage until further notice. Please reach out via email at emilyyoung@ongov.net if you have any questions or concerns.

  • City of Oswego
  • City of Utica

Sample Funeral Home Statements

NYSFDA members have shared some notices/statements they've posted on their websites and in their firms. Please feel free to use these as guidance when communicating with your families and local communities.

Mass Gatherings Guidelines

NYS Resources

Federal Government Recommendations

Business Resources

Religious Entities

Cemeteries & Crematories

Department of Veteran Affairs (as of 03.27.2020)

Update from March 27, 2020: New Procedures for Floral Arrangements at VA National Cemeteries due to COVID-19

Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, as part of the National Cemetery Administration’s on-going effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our employees conducting interments, NCA national cemeteries will not accept floral arrangements with direct interments.

Families that wish to place a floral arrangement(s) (limit 2) may do so after 4:30 pm on the day of interment or any time thereafter. This change will be in effect until further notice.

We request you share this with the families in advance of your arrival to the national cemetery. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.

From March 19, 2020: All Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemeteries are open and will continue to provide interments for Veterans and eligible individuals. However, the National Cemetery Administration is continuing to adjust its services in light of the best practices urged by the CDC in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. As a result, on Friday, March 20, NCA will only conduct committal services at our 142 cemeteries nationwide for groups of 10 or fewer people. Larger groups will be asked to reduce their numbers or be refused service. We appreciate your continued support in communicating and reinforcing this direction.

In addition, families should know that volunteer veterans honor guards may no longer be providing services at all cemeteries.

Starting March 23, 2020, as a matter of public health and safety, committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors, whether by military personnel or volunteer organizations, will not be conducted until further notice at VA national cemeteries. Immediate family members (limited to no more than 10 individuals) of the deceased may choose to witness the interment if desired. There is no service involved with witnessing an interment. Families will be able to view the interment of their loved one from a safe distance.

We are asking for your assistance in communicating the changes in operations to families that have interments scheduled and contact honors providers to cancel their services. Please contact the national cemetery where the interment is scheduled as soon as possible if the family wishes to postpone the interment. NCA will work to schedule a committal or memorial services at a later date for those families that choose to continue with the direct interment or postpone the interment.

The National Cemetery Scheduling Office in St. Louis will continue to provide scheduling services for the duration of the current emergency. To schedule a burial, please call 800.535.1117, option 1.

Our cemeteries will remain open to visitors, but we strongly urge all guests to obey local travel restrictions and avoid unnecessary travel. Visitors should expect that certain portions of a cemetery typically open to the public may be closed (for example, public information centers, chapels). Please contact the local cemetery for more information.

As warranted, the NCA will provide updates on the operating status of individual national cemeteries on its social media pages: Facebook and Twitter.

Please share information with NYSFDA & your peers. To submit information for consideration, please eail info@nysfda.org. As additional information directly relating to the funeral services industry becomes available we will be sure to share it with our members.