OLSON-SCHWARTZ FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES’ RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
UPDATED March 20, 2020 (Bemidji, Minnesota)— Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home & Cremation Services’ (OSFH) priority is the safety, well-being and health of our families, communities and caring professional staff. We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure a safe place for the families we serve and our caring professional staff. We are taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of any illnesses. The information provided here represents our current response based on information available to us by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Minnesota Funeral Directors Association (MFDA), National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the State of Minnesota. OSFH is strictly following social distancing requirements for all events, locations and interactions, as recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) amended limit on mass gatherings to 10 people or fewer.
The following measures are in place:
• Place of death response, residential or institution. Upon notification of a death occurring, we will maintain our one-hour response unless otherwise instructed by us or the facility where the death occurred.
• Arrangement consultations. Our funeral directors have technology to initiate and complete arrangements over the phone, reducing in person consultation time.
• Visitations and funerals. Our funeral home locations are available for public or private use. With any use singular events will occur, and social distancing will be required. Accessibility and monitoring attendance will be discussed with each family.
• Off-site guidelines. We have contacted area churches and facilities to understand their guidelines and restrictions for private events. Please contact us.
• Cemetery guidelines. We have contacted area cemeteries to understand their guidelines and restrictions for events. Please contact us.
• Attendance guidelines. We are following current CDC, MDH and guidelines provided to us regarding number of attendees at any event. While private family only is encouraged at this time, we use as our guiding principal the 10-person limit. We will publish attendance guidelines for every event, unique to your event.
• Technology capabilities. We have online arrangement collaboration, service selection options, merchandise selection, obituary writing, death certificate completion and confirmation identification viewing.
• Death announcements. Our website is fully operational to announce current deaths and future events. When placing the death notice through OSFH and a paid death notice in the Bemidji Pioneer, we will announce the future event on our website at that time for no charge.
In addition, we are operating with the following health and safety measures in place:
● Our locations will follow increased infection prevention and control precautions, per CDC/OSHA guidelines. While cleanliness is always a top priority for our location, we have increased our public and workspace sanitation schedules and frequency.
● All employees are instructed to stay home in the event of illness. We’ve encouraged employees to refrain from coming to work should they feel any symptoms of COVID-19, influenza or any other illness.
● We ask all families and individuals to assess their own health before visiting our facility or attending a funeral.
● Our staff is to follow the public health authorities’ guidance regarding hygiene and personal care. This applies to the care of the deceased, the care of your family, and guest and personal hygiene at the workplace.
● We are staggering on-site gatherings. We will not have back-to-back or multiple services happening at our location at a time to avoid large gatherings.
● We ask that guests refrain from bringing any food products to our facility. This includes any self-service items like cookie trays, or sandwich or deli trays brought in from outside sources. We understand that the recommendations listed above greatly affect the ability to hold or attend funeral services. We understand how difficult the COVID-19 situation is for all, especially those who are grieving during this time.
●We recognize that any delays in a funeral, memorial or final gathering also delays your natural grieving and healing process. While we can’t ask you to “pause” your grief, we will take every possible step to support you during this difficult time—even if that means a limited size final gathering for now.
● Share online condolences. Even if you can’t attend services in-person, you can still show your support by leaving a message on your loved one’s online guestbook. To do so, navigate to www.olsonschwartzfuneralhome.com/obituaries, find or search your loved one’s name, click their obituary, and then select “Guestbook.”
● Send flowers. Consider sending flowers to either the funeral home holding services or directly to a family member’s home.
We will continue to keep you informed and these guidelines are subject to updates or changes. We're here to assist families 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling our location. All media inquiries should be directed to Kirk Malkowski, phone: (218) 751-3159