COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Georgia hit a new record Wednesday for having the single largest day increase of COVID-19 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
With the death toll on the rise, the funeral industry is thriving. Before the pandemic, Striffler-Hamby Mortuary in Columbus had about two to three memorial services a day. Now, General Manager Teddy Price says they are juggling five to six a day, which is more than a 50 percent increase.
With the pandemic, some changes have been made to how they conduct funeral services. Families must wear masks and stay socially distant, which can be a hard thing to do in times of grief.
“Many times, they can be large gatherings, so we just have to take those things into consideration and most of all, be safe with what is going on around us,” said Price.
“People hug each other, they want to be close to each other,” said Rev. Jimmy Elder. “So, the emotional and physical restraint has been very difficult.”
Stiffler-Hamby Mortuary says they have started hosting virtual memorials, which have grown increasingly popular. That way, distant family or friends can still join the immediate family in mourning the loss of a loved one, but doing it in a safe way via Zoom or Skype.