VA updates cemetery guidance amidst coronavirus crisis

The Veterans Cemetery in Bakersfield, Calif. (Courtesy photograph)

All Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemeteries are open and will continue to provide interments for veterans and eligible individuals.

However, the National Cemetery Administration is continuing to adjust its services in light of the best practices urged by the CDC in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning March 23, 2020, as a matter of public health and safety, committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors, whether by military personnel or volunteer organizations, will be discontinued until further notice at VA national cemeteries. Immediate family members (limited to 10 individuals) of the deceased may choose to witness the interment if desired.

Cemeteries will work to schedule a committal or memorial services at a later date for those families that choose to continue with the direct interment.

The National Cemetery Scheduling Office in St. Louis will continue to provide scheduling services for the duration of the current emergency. To schedule a burial, please call 800-535-1117, option 1.

“We strongly urge all guests to obey local travel restrictions and avoid unnecessary travel,” said the VA. “Visitors should expect that certain portions of a cemetery typically open to the public may be closed (for example, public information centers and chapels).

For more information, contact your local cemetery.

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