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Bakersfield National Cemetery suspends military funeral honors until further notice

Posted at 4:39 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 22:03:10-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif — Businesses are continuously having to adapt their daily operations with the spread of COVID-19, including funeral services.

While many businesses around the nation are having to shut their doors, Bakersfield National Cemetery said they are happy they can keep their doors open. However, they’ve had to make some adjustments to follow new guidelines of social distancing. In the last two and half weeks Bakersfield National Cemetery said around 25 families decided to either cancel or reschedule funeral services for their veterans.

“We’re all veterans. We're veterans serving veterans. So, it’s very important to us to still be here, to still be working. We’re so glad that we aren't completely shut down. So, at the end of the day we want to give everything that we can,” said Randy Heard, Director of Bakersfield National Cemetery.

Currently Bakersfield National Cemetery is only conducting burials and no memorial services at this time. Following state issued guidelines the funeral home can only allow ten people to be present during the burial process.

“A lot of people are choosing to postpone or reschedule because that portion of the honors and the communal service is important to them,” said Heard.

They have also had to temporarily suspend all military funeral honors services, such as gun salutes and the folding of the flag, until further notice. Families can come back at a later date for a memorial service and military honors.

“Normally on any given day the services are huge. So, to limit them it’s tough from our standpoint but we also understand what's going on and how important it is for social distancing,” said Heard.

The national cemetery has also stopped receiving flower deliveries but families are allowed to bring them to their loved ones personally.