MONTREAL -- Funeral services are being adapted to help Montrealers grieve as they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Greater Montreal Funeral Cooperative issued a statement Thursday with several new measures.

First and foremost, they encourage delaying gatherings, when possible.

"We strongly recommend that the funeral be postponed to a later date. This includes periods of condolence, celebrations and receptions," the statement read.

If a family chooses not to postpone a funeral, only relatives can take part and exceptional hygiene measures must be applied. There will not be a reception.

"Funeral services will be strictly private gravesides for immediate family only," said Paperman & Sons funeral services in a statement on their website.

Instead of attending a funeral, visitation or shiva, people are invited to leave condolences on their website or send a message via social media, text or phone.

Families who do attend services will be asked to replace handshakes, hugs and kisses with a nod of the head and a hand on the heart.

The number of people admitted will be limited to 20 people. 

There will only be one funeral event at a time, which will reduce the number of spaces available.

Urgel Bourgie funeral homes say they will have cameras in the chapels of its funeral complexes for out-of-town friends and family to watch funerals live online. 

"Our points of service have systems for capturing and broadcasting celebrations on the web for loved ones who cannot travel. This service is available easily and free of charge via our website," it said in a statement.


"Knowing that funeral rituals are unique and important events for the mourning of families, it is important to continue our operations," said Urgel Bourgie.

Funeral arrangements can be made by phone, explained the Greater Montreal Funeral Cooperative.

Forms can be delivered to homes and collected at a later date, free of charge.

"We understand that some seniors' residences no longer allow access to visitors, but for these specific cases, we will deliver the documents in person," the cooperative's statement read.