Funeral homes and churches holding services for coronavirus victims, keeping social distancing in mind

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The death toll continues to rise as coronavirus cases go up both statewide and across the country.

To make things worse, grieving families are facing a real struggle as they say their final goodbyes during this time of social distancing.

"We can't give them the home-going celebration we normally would have for them," said Terry Wright of Wright and Young Funeral Home. "We're trying to keep ourselves save, and the families safe at the same time."

Wright is the CEO of Wright and Young Funeral Home.

The facility has signs posted outside each reposing room, helping visitors and keeping them safe.

"They sign the register, " Wright explained. "Number 2: they view the remains, and number 3: they exit the building."

They are also limiting the number of people in the building.

"If you come to a memorial service, or a graveside service, you must wear a mask and gloves," Wright said.

Gaston Smith, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Miami, told Local 10 News regular church services have been suspended, but red tape can be seen on the floor and on the pews, that marked where people were allowed to sit and stand during two funerals at the church last week.

"We limit it to the family," Smith said. "We tell them about the 10-person guideline and we help them understand that you can sit anywhere in the church, but, you’ve got to be distant."

Back at the funeral home, Wright and his staff are not only preparing to lay 101-year-old Leona Moten-Scott to rest, South Florida’s oldest COVID-19 victim, they’re also mourning the loss of one of their own: Bishop Norman McCray.

McCray died at the hospital after contracting coronavirus. He was 81 years old.

McCray ministered for more than 50 years and was pastor of Miracle Valley Church in Liberty City.

"He’s been a godfather for to me for the last 25 years," said Wright. "He dedicated this place when we opened it.

“I just pray that God will heal the land. This is something I have never encountered.”

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