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Can I visit a dying loved one in the hospital or at a care facility? Are funerals and other memorial services allowed to be held right now?

Last Updated: 05/21/2020

End-Of-Life

This is a difficult time to be away from loved ones and the Department of Health recognizes there are some circumstances where support is essential, which is why we have made some accommodations during this public health crisis

  • During end-of-life situations, healthy visitors are permitted.
  • Healthy is defined as individuals with no signs of respiratory illness such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. They should not have had contact with anyone with or suspected of having COVID-19 or any respiratory illness and individuals should be wearing the appropriate protective equipment.

Additional information can be found in this March 16th Department of Health memo.

Funerals and Memorial Services

Funerals and memorial services must comply with the limits on gatherings.

Indoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people, and social distancing protocols are strongly recommended. When social distancing is not possible, individuals should wear a cloth face covering to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Outdoor gatherings must be limited to 25 people and social distancing must be practiced. For instance, organized gatherings must include clear demarcations for attendees – and individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings. For more on mandatory requirements for outdoor gatherings, refer to the Governor's announcement.

Unfortunately, during this difficult time, we must find new ways to mourn those we have lost and to celebrate their lives. There are a number of free online tools to connect with friends and loved ones virtually.

For drive-in gatherings, if vehicles are closer than six feet apart, then all windows, sunroofs, or convertible tops must remain closed, unless the health or safety of the occupants is endangered.

Source: https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-107.pdf; https://www.state.nj.us/health/legal/covid19/3-16-2020_MandatoryGuidelinesforVisitors_andFacilityStaff_%20Supersedes3-13-2020Guidelines.pdf; https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200513a.shtml; Executive Order No. 142; Executive Order No. 148