Administrators announced Friday that some COVID-19-related restrictions on funeral Masses, visitation hours, and graveside services are being lifted at Catholic cemeteries and mortuaries in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties.

In a July 10 letter to parishes of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Catholic Cemeteries and Mortuaries management team said that funerals could resume at the Archdiocese’s six mortuary chapels for the first time in nearly four months, as long as they followed the necessary safety protocols.

The letter also said that public visitation hours at the Archdiocese’s 11 cemeteries would return to normal schedule, and that graveside services at cemeteries could be held without attendance limits, as long as attendees followed social distancing measures. 

“Our management team has been working diligently with archdiocesan, state and local officials to ensure the safety of our patrons, visitors, and staff while continuing uninterruptedly in our sacred ministry,” stated the letter, which was sent to priests, deacons and parish administrators of the archdiocese. 

“As the weeks have progressed in compliance with health orders issued, we have amended our operations and procedures accordingly.”

Cemeteries and mortuaries temporarily closed for public visitation March 21 in accordance with guidance from public health and government officials in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

On May 8, cemeteries reopened to the public with limited visitation hours but continued to limit graveside services to no more than ten people. 

The guidelines announced July 10 state that each cemetery may still limit the number of cars allowed to enter at any time and that visitors are required to wear face coverings at all times. Cemetery and mortuary staff will be available for funeral and burial planning by appointment only. 

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