New York State Funeral Directors Association

Prohibition on Food & Beverage in the Funeral Home Ends

ALBANY, NY (JULY 21, 2016) – NYSFDA applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo for approving legislation that will allow funeral directors to provide additional comfort to grieving family, friends and loved ones by allowing them to make food and/or beverages available in the funeral home.  
This measure will eliminate an antiquated regulation to allow funeral homes - at the owner's option - to make light fare and non-alcoholic beverages available to family members and friends of the deceased. The option would also be available to those at the funeral home to make funeral pre-arrangements, visiting as part of a funeral or memorial ceremony, or attending an open house or other similar community function relating to funeral directing.
NYSFDA's members voiced their desire to have the option to work with a local caterer and/or restaurant to provide light refreshments to a family who requests them during a highly emotional and stressful time in their lives.
Whether in rural, suburban or metropolitan areas of New York State, our citizens' expectations and preferences have changed greatly since the 1950's, bringing about a current time and place where the very presence and consumption of food and beverages is the norm - and oftentimes expected - at virtually every type of gathering or event. Why treat grieving families any differently by denying them the right to have light refreshments available during the funeral? Indeed, funeral and memorial services have also transformed from strictly solemn occasions to those in which the deceased are remembered through "life celebrations".
The NYS Assembly passed the bill on June 14, 2016 by a vote of 140-1, and the NYS Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor (60-2) on June 17th. The bills were sponsored on our behalf by NYS Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D - Manhattan) and NYS Senator Betty Little (R - Glens Falls), both of whom were pivotal to their passage.
PLEASE NOTE: This law will take effect on January 17, 2017. Until that time, no funeral home in NYS may serve or provide food or beverages.
NYSFDA applauds Government Affairs Chairman William E. McVeigh and the many active members for their support of this important legislative change that will allow all funeral homes the opportunity to respond to the wants and needs of today's consumers.