DPHSS issues guidance memos on funerals and the operation of bars

Department of Public Health and Social Services (PNC file photo)

The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) issued Guidance Memo 2020-30, relative to the requirements of funeral homes and mortuaries that service wakes, visitations, viewings, and/or other funeral services (collectively called, “Ceremony”) to minimize the potential for transmission of COVID-19. These requirements are intended for events held in various settings, including funeral homes, cemetery facilities, and other venues. This guidance document is in addition to applicable requirements set forth in DPHSS Guidance Memo 2020-29.

General Restrictions and Requirements

Ceremonies are limited to no more than ten attendees indoors at any given time; however, this does not include employees of the funeral home. In addition, attendees who do not live in the same household should maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet.

Prior to the start and the conclusion of the Ceremony, thoroughly clean and disinfect the facility using disinfectant cleaning supplies according to CDC guidelines.

Post readily visible signage at the entrance and throughout the facility to remind staff and attendees of policies on wearing of face mask, social distancing, respiratory/hand hygiene, and prohibiting entry of those with COVID-19 symptoms.

Provide hand-washing stations or hand sanitizers for attendees to use upon entering the facility.

Must provide adequate hand-washing supplies.

Provide and place disposable facial tissues within reach and closed bins for discarding of used tissues.

Practice extra precautions with high-touch areas, such as a register book, that could be potential sources for contamination.

Place hand sanitizer next to the register book with a sign to use before signing.

Require staff and attendees to wear face masks at all times.

Funeral homes may adopt U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention guidelines for face coverings for certain populations and situations, including those with certain medical conditions, such as asthma and COPD.


Conduct screenings of attendees before they enter the facility.

This may include temperature checks, and/or questionnaires for COVID-19 symptoms.

Attendees with symptoms are not to be permitted into the facility.

If possible, provide separate entrance and exit.

Discourage the sharing of commonly used objects, such as religious aids and microphones.

The following activities are prohibited:

Ceremonies at private residences;

Serving of food and beverages at Ceremonies;

Kissing or embracing the deceased or coffin;

Post-Ceremony gatherings on facility premises; and

Congregational singing.

Discourage holding or shaking hands, hugging, or kissing.

Employee Health and Hygiene

Screen all staff of funeral homes reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms; staff with symptoms are prohibited from working.

Provide and maintain personal protective equipment for employees to perform enhanced cleaning/disinfection.

DPHSS Guidance Memo 2020-31

DPHSS issued Guidance Memo 2020-31 relative to the prohibition of the Operation of Bars and Taverns. Due to the recent increase of COVID-19 cases among young adults, a number of which have been traced to activities at local (alcohol) drinking establishments, bars and taverns will be prohibited from operating, effective 6 p.m., August 8, 2020 until 6 p.m., August 22, 2020.

Dine-in operations with bar seating may still continue to operate provided all requirements listed in DPHSS Memo 2020-12 Revision 3 are met and steps are taken to ensure the protection of employees and customers through the use of barriers and/or social distancing and the proper and regular cleaning and disinfecting of the area.

This document temporarily supersedes DPHSS Guidance Memorandum 2020-23 and Section (A)(1) of DPHSS Guidance Memo 2020-29.

For further questions, please contact the Division of Environmental Health at 300-9579; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit dphss.guam.gov or guamrecovery.com. For inquiries on COVID-19, contact 311 through a local number, or call the Joint Information Center at (671) 478-0208/09/10.