Albany funeral home offers drive-thru services in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Apr. 3, 2020 at 4:56 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - After retiring from the funeral home business, Howard Fields had a vision and opened a new funeral home, The Promise Land Funeral Home, in the old Suntrust Bank building on Gillionville Road.

“It was actually a vision of the drive-thru I had some time ago, but it just hit at the right time,” Fields said.

With only 10 or less family members allowed to attend funeral services, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fields’ funeral home allows friends and family to drive up, view the deceased, and even leave text messages for the family.

So how does it work?

“I have a TV screen in that window. And then, you can see the remains in the casket in that window on TV screen, which affords me, meaning I don’t have to move the body back and forth at any period of time during the day, it stays in the same area of the funeral home,” Fields said. “And there again, you just drive through and you view the date and time of the service. The first time I used it, probably 50 people came through that area to view.”

The public is able to drive through to view the body 24/7, with the family’s approval, and there is still inside visitation.

“We provide masks and gloves, as long as we have them, for people who come in, family in particular, who will come in to make arrangements and to see their loved one,” Field said.

The Promise Land Funeral Home has made national news and have received lots of questions about how they have made this work.

“What came to my mind was to use a drop a thumb drive, take pictures of the deceased, and use the thumb drive to send it out to the TV. That’s what we use a thumb drive,” Fields said.

So how has Fields adapted his business during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“I have invested in masks, gloves, latex gloves, gowns and chemical sprays for my embalming room,” he said.

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