COVID-19 Alert - National Cemetery Administration
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National Cemetery Administration

 

COVID-19 Alert


All Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) national cemeteries remain open and continue to provide interment for Veterans and eligible individuals during this health crisis. Committal services, which had been discontinued on March 23, resumed at all NCA cemeteries in June. VA national cemeteries have been contacting families who were unable to hold a committal service due to the COVID-19 pandemic to arrange memorial services for their loved ones.

The National Cemetery Administration has implemented a robust set of measures that allows us to conduct committal and memorial services while protecting the health and safety of Veterans, their families and our team members who serve them. VA national cemeteries continue to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

To ensure the safety of our visitors and employees, all attendees are required to follow these safety measures:

  • Limit the Number of Attendees: Families must abide by cemetery limits on the number of individuals attending the committal service. The number of attendees permitted at committal service will vary based on state and local guidelines for gathering sizes and the ability of the cemetery to accommodate attendees while maintaining physical distancing, but nowhere will the number permitted to attend be fewer than 10. Cemetery team members, funeral home personnel, and military honors providers do not count toward the limited number of attendees. Families and Funeral home directors should contact the local cemetery for more details regarding the exact number of attendees permitted at the cemetery.
  • Wear Face Masks: All family members, attendees, funeral home personnel, military honor providers, and cemetery staff must wear a face mask or covering.
  • Maintain Physical Distancing: A least 6 feet of distance must be maintained between individuals. People living together in the same household do not need to maintain a 6-foot distance from each other.
  • Stay Home if you are Sick: Individuals who are sick or not feeling well should not attend the service.

Families wishing to display floral arrangements on stands at the committal service may do so, however, all handling, placement and removal of the arrangements must be done by funeral home personnel or the family. Floral arrangements will not be transported by cemetery personnel to the gravesite at the time of interment. Families wishing to place a floral arrangement(s) (limit 2) may do so after 4:30 p.m. on the day of interment or any time thereafter. As a reminder, cemeteries will not accept floral arrangements for direct interments, though families or funeral homes are free to place these after 4:30 in the day of interment or any time thereafter.

Funeral home personnel, families and visitors should be aware that some buildings, such as Public Information Centers, Administrative Buildings, and chapels remain closed to the public. Contact your local cemetery for specific information.

Military funeral honors, customarily provided by the Department of Defense and volunteer honor guards, will be based on local availability. Funeral home directors are encouraged to contact military funeral honors providers to determine services and availability. Military honors personnel will be required to wear a face mask and maintain physical distancing.

Families are not required to conduct a committal service. They may continue to choose direct interment and opt for a memorial service at a later date, when all restrictions have been lifted.

Memorial services for Veterans and eligible family members who were interred without a committal service between March and June are now being scheduled and conducted. Cemetery representatives are reaching out to all these families 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. The NCSO will continue to provide scheduling services for the duration of the current emergency. To schedule a burial, please call 800-535-1117, option 1.

Conditions and restrictions at local cemeteries can and will change in response to state, local and federal guidelines and orders. You are encouraged to contact your local cemetery for specific information or details.

With the resumption of committal services, VA has retired the Roll of Honor website. Every Veteran interred in a VA National Cemetery is automatically memorialized with individual profile pages on the Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM) site after the cemetery updates the Veteran's interment record, usually within one or two days of interment. In May VLM was been expanded to allow online visitors to leave comments or "tributes" on a Veteran's page. The tribute allows visitors to voice memories and appreciation for a Veteran's service. All comments will be reviewed for appropriateness prior to being posted. We invite all friends and family members with a Veteran interred in a VA national cemetery to visit VLM and leave a tribute.

Updates on the operating status of individual national cemeteries are posted below on this page and on our social media pages:
> https://www.facebook.com/NationalCemeteries
> https://twitter.com/VANatCemeteries

For more information about the government's response to COVID-19 please visit:
> https://www.coronavirus.gov

Status of Individual VA National Cemeteries


> Fort Richardson National Cemetery

All visitors are welcome to Ft. Richardson National Cemetery. The Trusted Traveler Program is still suspended so unless you have a DoD Identification card, you must get a Day Pass to access the Installation. The Day Pass will be good for three (3) hours only to visit during the cemetery's posted visiting hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Weekends and Federal Holidays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Please get your Day Pass at the Boniface Gate and use it at the Ft. Richardson Gate to access the cemetery.​


> Rock Island National Cemetery

The Rock Island Arsenal (RIA) Garrison Commander has declared a Public Health Emergency and directed Health Protection Condition (HPCON) to CHARLIE effective immediately and for the foreseeable future. HPCON CHARLIE is defined as an elevated risk of sustained community transmission. Mission essential travel is in effect at RIA, and the Visitor Control Center has modified hours Monday-Friday. Rock Island National Cemetery, which is located on RIA, is open to visitors who obtain a visitor pass of up to 30 days. All visitors must use the Moline Gate and obtain a visitor pass. Committal Services consisting of 10 or fewer family members and Military Honors are available per NCA/RIA COVID-19 guidelines.​