This story was updated March 20.
Veterans cemeteries are open to the public during the novel coronavirus outbreak, but are adhering to official guidance on how to avoid spreading COVID-19. In the latest development, the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has limited funeral parties to no more than 10 people.
The NCA began discouraging staff from handshakes and "any unnecessary physical contact" last week. On Tuesday, it announced that groups of more than 10 people should be avoided.
"In light of concerns regarding the community spread of COVID-19, we are strongly urging that all committal services adhere to the CDC guidelines to avoid groups of more than 10 people," the NCA guidance to funeral directors states. "We suggest you contact cemeteries directly to gain an understanding of the completeness of the committal service in this very fluid situation."
Beginning Monday and until further notice, the NCA will stop conducting committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors by military personnel or volunteer organizations. No more than 10 immediate family members will be allowed to watch the interment "from a safe distance" without a service, a new policy released Thursday states.
-- Dorothy Mills-Gregg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @DMillsGregg.
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