OCO Report / May 2020

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May 2020     


Message from Executive Director Deborah Rappazzo

Honoring the Forgotten Heroes

Since the onset of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many articles, television commercials and billboards highlighting all types of essential workers like doctors, nurses, grocery store staff and restaurant employees. But no one has mentioned the men and women who work in the death care industry who are also considered essential workers per the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s May 19, 2020 guidance document.

Our death care industry heroes, such as registered cemeterians, sales counselors and crematory operators, cemeteries’ clerical staff along with the grounds and maintenance crews continue to work endless hours to provide services to grieving families for proper burials of their loved ones during the course of the pandemic.

As defined in Cambridge’s online dictionary, a hero is “a person admired for bravery, great achievements, or good qualities.” I believe that all death care workers exemplify the qualities of a true hero!

workers at cemetery


Phase One: Retail, Manufacturing and Other Services Resume in Maryland

On May 13, 2020, Governor Larry Hogan replaced Maryland’s stay-at-home order with a safer-at-home alternative as part of the first phase of reopening the state. As a result, retail businesses, manufacturing, personal services, and certain other businesses were able to resume operations at 5 p.m. Friday, May 15 under new guidelines designed to promote safety and continued social distancing. Read the governor’s executive order online.

It is important to note that the state has given local jurisdictions the authority to enter phase one of reopening at their own pace. Check the website of your local jurisdiction to obtain up-to-date information.

Filing Unemployment Claims Using the Maryland Department of Labor’s Website

On Friday, April 24, Labor launched BEACON, a new, One-Stop unemployment insurance application to allow Marylanders to file claims for ALL unemployment programs entirely online. This includes the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, and those who were previously required to file by phone like federal employees, members of the military, individuals who have worked in multiple states, and those who have worked for more than three employers in the last 18 months. To directly access the new BEACON One-Stop application, please visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/. See the BEACON website to learn more and review the FAQ.

If you have questions about unemployment, please visit our Unemployment Insurance webpage which contains important information and FAQs that will be updated frequently. Additionally, please visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Businesses webpage as an important resource. It includes an FAQ that will also be updated regularly.

Contact Us

The Office of Cemetery Oversight’s offices currently has limited access to the public. Please be patient with us, as it may take longer than usual to respond to voicemails and e-mails. E-mails are preferable to phone calls at this time. We can be reached using our contacts page for telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of individual staff members, or you may send your concerns to our general e-mail address and your message will be routed to the appropriate person.