On March 15, the CDC issued new guidance recommending that gatherings be restricted to 50 or fewer people for the subsequent eight weeks (until May 10).
On March 16, the White House released “The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America - 15 Days to Slow the Spread.” Among these guidelines are that people “Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people” for the next 15 days (until March 31).
Additionally, many states and local officials are placing restrictions on public gatherings. If your city or state has issued rules about mass gatherings that are more stringent than what federal officials recommend, these restrictions take precedence.
In light of guidance being issued that restricts and/or bans mass gatherings, alternatives you can offer to families include:
- Record the service on video, which could be shared with whomever the family deems appropriate.
- If the immediate family holds a service now, plan a memorial gathering when restrictions are lifted
- Postpone the service until restrictions are lifted
- If the family selects immediate disposition, hold a memorial event when restrictions are lifted
The options you are able to offer will depend on your funeral home’s capabilities and may go beyond these suggestions.
A note about webcasting: The initial information NFDA had about the funeral home webcasting license it offers covering ASCAP, BMI and SESAC seemed to indicate that live-streaming funeral services containing copyrighted music was only permitted through the websites of the funeral homes holding a webcasting license.
However, on March 18, NFDA was able to confirm that NFDA webcasting license does allow performance of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC copyrighted music on Facebook and YouTube as would occur during funeral services.
If you do not currently have a NFDA funeral webcasting license, click here for more information and to purchase one.
Please note: In some cases, Facebook or YouTube may take videos down or stop a live stream because they are unaware the funeral home has the appropriate webcasting license and is permitted to stream funeral services with copyrighted music.
If you hold a webcasting license and find your streams or videos are being blocked or taken down, please take a photo or capture a screenshot of the notification you receive stating your videos or live feeds are being blocked/taken down. Send this photo or screenshot to NFDA (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the issue will be directly addressed with Facebook and/or YouTube.
NFDA General Counsel Scott Gilligan is reaching out to Facebook and YouTube to proactively address this issue of blocking or removing streams and videos. We ask funeral homes’ patience as we work as swiftly as we can to put this issue to rest.
NFDA is also working to update the webcast license receipt to include language stating that the license permits performances of copyrighted music licensed by ASCAP, BMI and SESAC on Facebook and YouTube.
NFDA offers sample legal forms that give authorization for funeral homes to webcast funeral services and direction to record funeral services.