Final goodbyes amid a pandemic: Outer Banks funeral homes adjust, get creative

Another sad reality of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing restrictions? Some grieving families are being forced to delay or forego funeral services for their loved ones.


Courtney Gallop, director of Gallop Funeral Services Inc., with locations in Nags Head and Barco, said her team is working to offer “creative and meaningful alternative services,” while complying with state mandates on gathering sizes.

“We would like the public to know we’re still open 24 hours, fully staffed and healthy,” Gallop said.


One of those alternatives is free live streaming, which allows services to continue while meeting state crowd requirements.


Among other measures, Gallop is fully stocked with personal protective gear such as gloves and masks for both employees and family members. The equipment is outsourced so as not to take away from the stock for local health care providers, Gallop said.

In addition, Gallop’s on-site embalmer is specially trained in disinfection of remains and the funeral service uses top-of-the-line disinfectants on its properties.

Gallop also offers free in-home arrangement consultations. And they are now also offering free refrigeration as families determine if they need to delay services.

At Twiford Funeral Homes, with locations in Manteo, Hatteras and Elizabeth City, the team has established an online register book sign-in page on its obituaries page for anyone who wishes to sign the register book without attending visitation or funeral.

“This new addition to our online obituaries complements our already existing section where condolences for the family can be expressed.”

In addition, Twiford will have an attendant at all visitations and services who will sign the register book for attendees to help eliminate the spread of germs.

There is also a new link on the website for visitors to order flowers.

Twiford is also granting limited access to its public viewing areas following Gov. Roy Cooper’s state mandates and recommendations.

“We encourage everyone to use common sense and stay away from public gatherings if you are a high-risk candidate for the virus, if you have a fever or are not feeling well. Together, we will get through this crisis.”

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Kari Pugh is digital director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at