New Jersey – one of the last states in the union to have such a restriction – is lifting its ban on bringing food and drinks into funeral homes.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday signed Senate Bill 2807, which will allow food and drinks to be served at funeral homes, but at the discretion of the owners.
Prior to the signing, the law stated that food could not be prepared on-site, nor served or eaten in rooms where a viewing or ceremony is taking place. Only nonalcoholic beverages are permitted to be served.
The change in policy could mean a big difference for mourners and their guests, who would now be able to have coffee, sandwiches and comfort food such as cookies.
“You have family members in the intensive care unit … they’re there for 36 hours straight … and they immediately head to the funeral home. And we can [only] offer them a glass of water and a thin mint,” George Kelder, executive director of the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association, told NJBIZ in February.
For a funeral home to have the option to offer a crumb cake, a cup of coffee or a sandwich, Kelder said, would make an enormous difference for patrons’ experience.
“There are relatively few things in life that human beings do without food and beverage involved,” Kelder said. “You’ve got individuals at the worst time of their life and you cannot offer them any food of comfort.”
The new law goes into effect immediately.