After being closed for in-person services on its premises since the start of the pandemic, Ralph Schugar Funeral Chapel is prepared to be “fully open” for families wishing to hold funeral services indoors, said Sharon Ryave Brody, owner and president of Schugar’s.
Schugar’s has been closed to indoor funeral services since the COVID-19 pandemic forced theirs and other businesses to temporarily shutter their doors, Brody explained.
“The priority has always been to keep my staff safe, to keep the Chevra Kadisha safe and the public that we serve safe,” she said.
Like Pittsburgh synagogues, Brody has begun thinking about reopening Schugar’s chapel but hasn’t done so yet, primarily because no one has requested indoor services yet.
“We are definitely prepared to be fully open,” she said. “We’re also aware that not everyone may be ready for that. We want to meet people where they are with their comfort level.”
Families are still requesting small, graveside gatherings, Brody said, and Schugar’s has begun offering a hybrid service — allowing families to gather at the funeral home and travel in procession to a cemetery.
Schugar’s has already put measures in place to ensure the safety of the families it serves, including social distancing, masks and hand sanitizer. “We have a full-time staff that takes care of disinfecting,” Brody said.
While Brody is aware that other funeral homes have already reopened their chapels to the public, she doesn’t regret being closed because of the pandemic.
“But I do feel that it’s time to meet people at their comfort level,” she said. “We’re definitely up for that.” PJC