Oakey’s Funeral Services’ President speaks out on the pandemic

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Sammy Oakey with Oakey’s Funeral Services in Roanoke says he doesn’t like to get political on social media or talk about what goes on at his funeral services business, for that matter, but last week something happened.

“I walked in in the morning, and we had gotten three new, COVID positive cases that had passed away overnight,” said the Oakey’s President.

In a tweet, he noted how in his 44 years with Oakey’s, he’s never seen such a tragedy.

The three cases he mentioned add to a list of over 100, now, that have come through Oakey’s.

“It’s very difficult for families,” Oakey said. “They are devastated because they’ve lost a loved one, understandably, but then to be told you can’t have this or you can’t do that it makes it even tougher.”

Even with COVID-19 restrictions, Oakey says families have been understanding with the new process.

“I hope they will continue to be as understanding as they have been,” he said.

Oakey has seen clients choose churches for visitations and services over his facilities because they can house larger gatherings.

That, along with purchasing additional PPE for staff and guests and disinfecting facilities, has cut into his business’ income.”

“I saw a comment in one of these online chat things, saying ‘Oh yeah! The funeral homes are getting rich on the pandemic.’ Well, that is just not the case,” Oakey said.

Oakey’s has also hired a third-party transport service to pick up bodies to help reduce the risk of COVID transmission among staff.

Oakey says he and his staff are preparing for the Christmas season, which usually sees a rise in death even before the pandemic.

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