ARVIN, Calif. (KGET) — The Bakersfield National Cemetery has announced it will resume committal services on Tuesday for families who are interring their loved ones.
The cemetery has remained open for interments and visitation throughout the pandemic. However, it began deferring committal services and military funeral honors in March.
“We appreciate the patience and understanding families have shown during the COVID-19 pandemic and are eager to begin returning to normal operations,” said Cemetery Director Randy Heard.
Families with interments scheduled on or after June 9 will be offered the option of a committal service at the time of interment, the cemetery said. Military funeral honors, customarily provided by the Department of Defense and volunteer honor guards, will be based on local availability.
The cemetery said that due to COVID-19, it will limit the number of people able to attend committal services to 10 people per service. Cemetery employees, funeral home personnel and military honors providers will not count toward the family’s limit on attendees.
The BNC said it will also require all attendees to practice physical distancing, ensure everyone wears face coverings, encourage the frequent use of hand sanitizer and ask sick individuals to stay home.
Families may continue to choose a direct interment without a service and opt for a memorial service later when all restrictions have been lifted, according to the cemetery.
Memorial services for veterans and eligible family members who were interred without a committal service between March 23 and June 8 will take place in July.
The cemetery said representatives will be reaching out to these families in the coming weeks to discuss their options and schedule a memorial service, if desired.
Families may also contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office or the cemetery directly to schedule a memorial service after June 29.
For more information, call the BNC at 661-867-2250. To make burial arrangements or schedule a memorial service at the cemetery or any VA national cemetery, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.