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Can funerals or memorial services be held? Is there support for COVID-related funeral costs?

Last Updated: 09/23/2021

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

To apply, call 844-684-6333. The hotline is open Monday through Friday 9 am to 9pm.

To learn more about the program including eligibility requirements, visit FEMA's Funeral Assistance FAQ page.

Funerals and Memorial Services

Funerals and memorial services may continue to be held.

There is no numerical limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings including funerals and memorial services.

Safety Tips For Gatherings

To avoid putting your loved ones at risk, the CDC and the NJ Department of Health has offered safety tips for in-person gatherings.

Face masks are strongly recommended for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in indoor settings where there is increased risk, including:

  • Crowded indoor settings
  • Indoor settings involving activities with close contact with others who may not be fully vaccinated
  • Indoor settings where the vaccine status of other individuals in the setting is unknown
  • Where an individual is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease

Safety Tips For Fully Vaccinated Individuals:

  • You can resume many activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • If you've been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. Note: There are exceptions for those living in high-risk congregate settings like nursing homes and homeless shelters.
  • If you are visiting New Jersey or returning home after travel, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine.
  • Make hand sanitizer available for guests.
  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.

Safety Tips for Unvaccinated Individuals:

  • Wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and stay home if you are sick.
  • Indoor gatherings are particularly dangerous places for the virus to spread. Host outdoor activities rather than indoor activities as much as possible.
  • If you do host indoors, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
  • The smaller the gathering is, the less likely it is that someone is infected and put loved ones at risk.
  • Require guests to wear masks when not eating, whether indoors or outdoors.
  • Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated based on CDC guidance. For more information, refer to the CDC's guidance for domestic travel.
  • Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others outside their household.
  • Make hand sanitizer available for guests.
  • Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
  • Consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contract tracing needs. If you are called by a contact tracer, it's critical that you answer the call to protect us all. Your help is the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.

Source: Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 7/29/20; Commissioner Persichilli's Remarks 10/15/20; Executive Order No. 239; Executive Order No. 242