Inclusion of Deathcare in Executive Orders (3/20/20)

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Confusion on Deathcare Being Essential

Last night (Thursday, March 19, 2020) it was announced that deathcare workers were named as essential workforce during the COVID-19 crisis. However, it is important to understand that IT IS NOT A MANDATE. As stated in the memo from U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

Accordingly, this list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself.

While the federal recommendation is a great first step, there is still more to do.

States are not required to follow this recommendation, so it is important that we get exact language to the states for the entire deathcare profession.

ICCFA has drafted a letter which is being sent to state health departments, regulatory agencies, and state governors. Please take a moment to read the letter, so you understand the issue and what is being done on a national front - for all states. If you have questions please feel free to contact us.

LETTER FROM ICCFA RE: Executive orders

Please see the below letter from ICCFA regarding essential versus non-essential workers. You may also view, download, or print it in pdf format.

March 19, 2020

State and Local Health Departments

Funeral, Cemetery, and Cremation Regulatory Agencies

Re: Inclusion of Deathcare Professionals in All COVID-19 Orders

On behalf of ICCFA Members,

In light of many Health Departments, State and other local agencies issuing various orders ranging from size restrictions of public gatherings all the way to shelter-in-place orders, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) is requesting that all orders include deathcare professionals as essential business.

Currently, most orders are identifying that only essential activities and businesses to be open. Included in these orders are health care operations as well as other businesses related to general health and essential infrastructure. ICCFA believes all deathcare professionals - this would include funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries, as well as the suppliers to these businesses - are related and essential infrastructure. We encourage any new orders to specifically identify the deathcare professions as an essential business and function. By clarifying that deathcare professionals are an essential business and function, it will avoid any confusion.

Properly identifying deathcare professionals will allow them to remain in a position to aid in this crisis. It is also important so they can receive needed supplies, and also have priority access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as this crisis continues. Identifying deathcare professionals as essential public health workers also follows a recent Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response, which was issued by the US Department of Homeland Security on March 19, 2020.


ICCFA suggests the use of the following language in any orders:

For the purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” means:

Deathcare Professionals and Essential Infrastructure, including licensed funeral homes, crematories, cemeteries, as well as all suppliers of funeral products to funeral service providers, which provide essential services that are critical to the health, safety and sanitation of the community.

If you have any questions, please contact us at (703) 391-8400.


Nadira Baddeliyanage / Poul Lemasters

Executive Director / ICCFA General Counsel, ICCFA

Founded in 1887, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association is the only international trade association representing all segments of the cemetery, cremation, funeral and memorialization profession. Its membership is composed of more than 9,100 rooftop locations and 18,000 professionals in the cemetery, funeral home and crematory

industries, as well as supplier and related businesses worldwide.


Facebook is an additional way that we reach our members and those in the deathcare industry. As the COVID 19 guidelines and regulations are changing daily, please make sure you follow or Like Us on Facebook as an additional means of gathering industry information. Some of you may not have access to work emails if you are sequestered at home but, everyone has access to their cell phones and social apps.


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