The COVID-19 pandemic is starting to take its toll on the funeral service industry in Jamaica with major establishments in Kingston and St Catherine, now faced with a backlog of bodies awaiting burial.
With social distancing and a restriction on the number of persons allowed to gather, funeral directors, who spoke with the Jamaica Observer last week, said most of their clients were postponing burials, leading to a “piling up” as one funeral director put it.
“Most persons are waiting on this thing (pandemic) to pass and the deceased are not being buried,” said Michael Jones, funeral director at the Jones Funeral Home in Kingston.
“The amount of funerals has reduced and the bodies are here piling up. When this is over, all these persons are going to want to bury their dead at one time which is only going to cause a backlog,” Jones lamented.
The economic impact of the pandemic has also made it harder on families to pay for burials. “Some persons are on hard times and waiting on family members abroad to pay for the funeral,” Jones stated.
The businessman fears, however, that he will soon run out of space to store bodies if families continue to wait indefinitely to bury their loved ones. “My fear is that if this situation continues, we are going to have a space problem where storage is concerned,” he said.
Jones also indicated that families have been struggling to adjust to the idea of having a small funeral service with only a few clients choosing to go ahead with burials.